Geraldton traffic top cop issues Easter road safety warning to Mid West road users

Jessica MoroneyGeraldton Guardian
Traffic OIC Sgt. Ron Pace.
Camera IconTraffic OIC Sgt. Ron Pace. Credit: Jessica Moroney

Geraldton police have issued a warning for motorists to avoid taking unnecessary risks over Easter as they prepare to be out in force patrolling the roads during the long weekend.

As roads fill up with traffic in and out of the region, police have urged everyone to play their part to ensure no one loses their life or is seriously injured over the Easter break.

Local police will have a strong enforcement presence. Double demerit points — for offences including speeding, failure to wear seatbelts, illegal use of mobile phones, driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and running red lights — are in force now until midnight on Monday, April 18.

Geraldton traffic police officer-in-charge Sgt Ron Pace said it was important the community remained cautious of driver fatigue during holiday periods.

“Fatigue plays a major role in a large number of accidents. Fatigue-related road deaths and serious injuries are not restricted to rural and regional roads, nor are they restricted to people driving long distances,” he said.

“Before setting out on a long trip, plan your journey. Plan to get seven-and-a-half hours sleep before driving. Make sure you check your tyres, check under the bonnet, check your lights and indicators, check your brakes, and make sure your windscreen is clean.

“Don’t rush, don’t take risks, be patient, be courteous and arrive safely.”

Road statistics show 78 people were killed or seriously injured in Mid West-Gascoyne region in 2020 on the road, with 17 per cent of crashes related to fatigue.

In 2021, 166 Western Australians died in road related accidents. So far this year, 35 people have been killed on WA roads, including 26 in regional WA.

Geraldton Police acting officer-in-charge Sen. Sgt Stuart Gerreyn said traffic police would increase their presence on the roads to ensure everyone was travelling safely and not putting themselves and other road users at risk over the long weekend.

Sen. Sgt Gerreyn said there would also be more patrols in the CBD and along the foreshore as police took a zero-tolerance approach to antisocial behaviour.

During the Easter period last year, seven crashes were reported in the Mid West-Gascoyne district — three of them in Geraldton, two in Jurien Bay and one which was fatal.

That fatality occurred on Indian Ocean Drive in Cervantes, and resulted in the death of a driver and serious injuries to two passengers.

Two crashes were reported locally during the Easter period of 2020 — when most of the State was in lockdown during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Police encourage drivers to take a break from behind the wheel every two hours and if possible swap drivers regularly.

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