Fatal five

LOCALS TAKE TOO MANY RISK: Superintendent Campbell Hill says more than half of deaths on country roads are locals.

“REGIONAL people are dying on our roads and it’s got to stop.”

That’s the key message Limestone Coast Police Superintendent Campbell Hill wants to get across to the community.

His message is part of a state-wide advertising campaign designed to build awareness of the risks country drivers take on our roads that may result in fatalities.

Drink or drug driving, not wearing a seatbelt, excessive speed, distraction, dangerous driving – including driving when tired – are the behaviours that cause deaths on country roads, according to police.

“This is a key strategy targeting messaging to our rural communities to save our people from dying – we want to stop it – it’s as simple as that,” Supt Hill said.

The fatal five behaviours can be undertaken by some of the most “law abiding people in our community” according to the superintendent.

“When we talk about the fatal five behaviours, we need to dispel this myth that the evil criminal is doing these things,” Supt Hill said.

“These behaviours can still occur within the most law-abiding citizens in our community.

“It’s not just the young louts doing burnouts.

“These are things done by our most honest and genuine trustworthy people in our community; they still make mistakes on our roads.

“It’s a misconception about it [only] being people from out of town – Adelaide, Melbourne or built-up cities – coming to our area and coming unstuck is false.”

Supt Hill said, for example, farmers not wearing a seatbelt when travelling from paddock to paddock via a public road is how deaths can occur on our roads.

“We are talking about what could be the minuscule type things like people on the land who are working between their properties and who may not put their seatbelt on to travel on the highway for two minutes between two different property gates,” he said.

“We understand the mentality of that; they have been doing this for 20 years and they don’t think it’s going to be them.

“What they need to understand is that there may be someone just up the road who isn’t paying attention and when you get the combination of those two cars coming together, the person without a seatbelt on is going to get killed.”

Mr Hill said within two thirds of people dying on regional roads are regional people.

“The research has been done and the evidence is clear that our own people are dying more often than not within 20 kilometres of their own home and it’s from one of the five fatal reasons why people die,” he said.

Supt Hill said the campaign was about driving home the message to the people who need it.

“Generating conversations for people to have within their social circles, club and community groups, at work with their mates; this is very much about getting people to understand that the data shows, as rural drivers, we can be our own problem sometimes,” Supt Hill said.