Drivers warned on fatigue

Jackson Lavell-Lee and Nicole SalmeriBusselton Dunsborough Times
A man is lucky to be alive after he crashed into a electricity pole last night on Bussell Highway in Broadwater
Camera IconA man is lucky to be alive after he crashed into a electricity pole last night on Bussell Highway in Broadwater Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee

Motorists have been warned not to drive tired after a disastrous start to 2020, with seven deaths on regional roads in seven days.

Three of the deaths occurred in the South West and the other four in the Great Southern, leading Police Minister Michelle Roberts to urge motorists not to drive tired and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti to caution motorists ahead of the Australia Day long weekend.

The deaths of Danielle Bileski de Mello Pimental, 37, and Eduardo Hernandes Pereira Rodrigues, 41, on Forrest Highway two weeks ago, left three young children orphaned.

Last Thursday, Pemberton potato farmer Tom Fox, 71, died in a crash on Bussell Highway, near Capel. Glenn William Bailey, 55, of Marybrook, has been charged with dangerous driving causing death. Police claim his car veered on to the wrong side of the road and into the path of the truck driver.

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Mr Bailey faced Bunbury Magistrate’s Court last Friday and was bailed with a $10,000 surety. He is due to appear again next month.

Mrs Roberts blamed fatigue and inattention for the spate of crashes on regional roads in the new year.

“One of the factors that we know is featuring more in our country road deaths is fatigue and inattention and we are asking people to focus on that,” she said.

“People have generally been very good in terms of modifying their speeding and modifying things like drink-driving and non-wearing of seatbelts.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing generally good drivers — who are not speeding, who haven’t been drinking or taking drugs and who are wearing their seatbelts — involved in fatalities.

“Now we can only really put that down to largely fatigue and inattention.”

Road Safety Council chairman Iain Cameron said road crashes were commonly related to a lack of sleep.

“Around seven out of 10 crashes on Western Australian roads are caused by someone making a simple mistake, being inattentive, losing concentration, being tired or being distracted,” Mr Cameron said.

“Someone awake for 17 hours has the reaction time equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.05.”

The series of incidents has again put the safety of South West roads in the spotlight.

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