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'Worst year on record' for road deaths in Shepparton

Shepparton police officers are pleading for residents to pay attention while driving during the holiday season.

KAITLIN THALS December 1, 2012 4:58am

Shepparton Highway Patrol Senior Constable Glenn Fitzgerald will be one of many officers keeping our roads safe this summer.


Local people are dying on local roads because they’re not paying attention.

Shepparton Highway Patrol Senior Sergeant Des Wright said other people were failing to comply with road signs and road rules and a handful of deaths were unexplained.

Sen Sgt Wright yesterday told The News it was the ‘‘worst year on record’’ for road fatalities across the region.

Two more people died on the roads yesterday, but only one of these was inside the Greater Shepparton policing area, of which the road toll now sits at 13.

Police fear trauma on the region’s road will continue to rise during the ‘‘silly season’’.

‘‘The fatalities for the year is more than any other year that I can remember for Greater Shepparton,’’ Sen Sgt Wright said.

‘‘Drivers need to pay attention, do the right thing and don’t take unnecessary risks.

‘‘Almost all collisions that occur are avoidable.’’

Shepparton police will be cracking down on motorists during a state-wide 52-day operation aimed at keeping people safe and alive through the festive season.

Operation RAID is aimed at detecting and removing all alcohol and drug-impaired drivers from our roads.

However, Sen Sgt Wright said of the 13 fatalities in Greater Shepparton, just one was alcohol related.

Other causes included fatigue, failing to comply with road signs or road rules, and a handful that were ‘‘odd circumstances’’ and could not be explained.

He said people needed to understand the impacts of a collision.

‘‘There’s a lot of people out there who have no idea of the enormous force involved when they have a collision,’’ Sen Sgt Wright said.

‘‘They need to realise how potentially dangerous it is coming to a sudden stop from just 50 or 60km/h — it’s like a bomb going off.

‘‘Think about the amount of energy being released, and your body is being affected by that, it’s just horrendous.’’

Sen Sgt Wright said avoiding collisions was simple — pay attention, do the right thing and be patient.

‘‘Don’t rush and take unecessary risks and chances,’’ he said.

‘‘All collisions relate to whether people are paying attention to what they’re doing and doing the right thing — if we all did pay attention and did the right thing, there would probably be almost no collisions at all.’’

The Victorian road toll when The News went to print was 258, the same compared to this time last year.

Today The News launches its Christmas road safety campaign. In the coming weeks we’ll speak to victims of road trauma and emergency services personnel. 

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