Father of Cervantes crash victim, local government seek lower speed limits on Indian Ocean Drive

Geoff Vivian & Phoebe PinMidwest Times
Cervantes fatal crash victim Jared Smith, 41. INSET TOP: Indian Ocean Drive is a popular tourist route. RIGHT: The crash site.
Camera IconCervantes fatal crash victim Jared Smith, 41. INSET TOP: Indian Ocean Drive is a popular tourist route. RIGHT: The crash site. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

A speed limit cut, road modifications and driver education will be vital in preventing future accidents on Indian Ocean Drive.

That is according to local government, motorists and the father of Jared Smith, 41, who became the ninth person to die on the road since 2018 after an incident near the Cervantes Road intersection last Saturday.

The two-car crash, which occurred when Mr Smith was turning on to Indian Ocean Drive, also injured six other people.

Something has to be done — reduce the speed limit. Action has to be taken.

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“We are the only place on the coast that hasn’t got a reduced speed limit,” she said. “Lancelin, Green Head, Leeman have got a place where you have to slow down, but you are pulling out of Cervantes into 110km/h.

“The residents of Cervantes have been calling through the Shire and anyone else who will listen for a reduced speed limit ... it was a classic accident waiting to happen.”

Ms Holmes said the Shire had repeatedly asked the State Government to create a slip road at the T-junction so people entering Indian Ocean Drive had time to build up speed before merging with passing traffic, which had increased dramatically.

“This weekend, 300 people has turned into 3000 — so many caravans and cars,” she said. “You shouldn’t have to have somebody die to get (State Government) to have a look at it. I would say they have it on the radar but every time we bring it up, it is a ‘no’.”

Mr Smith’s father Bob told 7NEWS on Monday he also supported a reduced speed limit.

“Something has to be done — reduce the speed limit. Action has to be taken,” he said.

“You’d like to feel that the negative sorrow of losing your — in this case — our child, that somehow we can get a positive out of it.”

Other Mid West residents and frequent travellers on Indian Ocean Drive took to social media after Mr Smith’s death at the weekend to suggest education about driving in regional WA would be more effective at reducing crashes.

“Perfectly safe stretch of highway. People need to learn a little patience, respect and stop taking risks on the road,” one woman commented.

“I never feel safe on that road or any single lane two way highway. They have overtaking lanes but impatient drivers ignore them,” another woman said. One person who drove from Perth to Lancelin said Indian Ocean Drive was “excellent” and “clearly marked”.

At least nine people have died in crashes on Indian Ocean Drive since 2018.
Camera IconAt least nine people have died in crashes on Indian Ocean Drive since 2018.

A State Government spokesperson said police and Main Roads WA would continue to investigate last weekend’s tragedy.

“This is an absolute tragedy and everyone’s thoughts are with the victim’s loved ones,” they said.

“It’s too early to know exactly what has occurred here and police are conducting a very thorough investigation around all the circumstances.

“Main Roads will also conduct an investigation into the circumstances of the crash and contributing factors — to determine whether adjustments may be made to this stretch of road, including assessing the current speed limit.”

Based on the findings of the Indian Ocean Drive Safety Review Group’s 2017 report, the McGowan Government has spent more than $23 million in recent years to improve the stretch of road.

Modifications include reducing the speed limit from 110km/h to 100km/h between Breakwater Drive and KW Road, constructing four new overtaking lanes between Seabird and Lancelin, installing safety barriers and embankments to reduce road side hazards, clearing vegetation to improve visibility, and installing audible edge and centre lines.

Intersection improvements at KW Road and Lancelin Road — including the provision of a northbound heavy vehicle slow lane between the two intersections — have been completed and road widening has occurred between Breakwater Drive (Two Rocks turnoff) and Moore River Bridge and Moore River Bridge and Seabird.

Also installed on Indian Ocean Drive were audible edge and centre lines — specific measures aimed at reducing the risk of head on collisions and vehicles running off the road.

The spokesperson said the McGowan Government would continue to work with the community and local governments to make the road safer.

“While we will continue to make improvements, the tragic events we have seen over this long weekend are a reminder to everyone to take care when out on our roads,” they said.

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