MPs plead with drivers to slow down

Kiama MP Gareth Ward and South Coast MP Shelley Hancock launch a road safety campaign in Nowra on Wednesday. Picture: Rebecca Fist
Kiama MP Gareth Ward and South Coast MP Shelley Hancock launch a road safety campaign in Nowra on Wednesday. Picture: Rebecca Fist

IT is all too easy to make excuses for speeding or drink driving, but state MPs are urging locals to arrive alive instead.

“We need to face up to the fact that far too many country people are dying on our roads,” Kiama MP Gareth Ward said.

“What’s even more tragic is that it’s our fathers, our brothers, our uncles, our sons, 80 per cent of road accidents involving death are men.”

In the Kiama electorate there have been 29 deaths and 413 serious injuries on the road in five years, and in the South Coast electorate there have been 33 deaths and 320 serious injuries.

Mr Ward went into detail about the statewide campaign on TV, social media and radio costing the government $3.4 million.

“’Yeah, but I’ve gotta get the kids home on time,’ no," he said.

“‘Yeah, I’ve been driving a few hours but I just want to make it home,’ no.

“This time of year, we have thousands of people who don’t know the roads in the region, making it even more dangerous.”

Police will be out in force along the Princes Highway.

“Don’t be tempted to speed because the roads are really good,” South Coast MP Shelley Hancock said.

“Watch those speed limits because I tell you what, highway patrols are out and about.

“Please, those of you visiting our area, take care on our roads, but our locals are in just as much danger, so everyone take care.

“We want to make sure you get to your destination safely, whether you live here or whether you’re a tourist.”

Speeding, alcohol and fatigue are the most dominant risk factors.

“There’s lots of people on the road doing idiotic things, think of your family and what would happen if you lost your life,” Mrs Hancock said.

“I think men are prone to more risky behaviour, and speeding is the cause.”

The death toll has personally touched Mrs Hancock.

“I was aware of a 21 year old who lost his life,” she said.

“He was a talented dancer. Ulladulla High School will never forget that man, and he lost his life on his 21st birthday. Communities here are very close.”

The government is looking to upgrade various intersections along the Princes Highway including Andrews Road, Sussex Inlet Road, Island Point Road, The Wool Road and Jervis Bay Road, to improve safety along what has been an accident-prone area.

Mr Ward took a shot at the federal government, for not delivering on Princes Highway upgrades.

“I want the same funding, an 80/20 split, from the federal government here as they do on the Pacific Highway,” he said.

“We’re not second class citizens and Canberra needs to wake up.”