FAMILIES have been left shattered with 27 deaths and 184 people left seriously injured on Bathurst’s roads since 2012.
Speed, fatigue, alcohol and restraints not being worn among the contributing factors, detailed data from Transport for NSW shows.
And, the numbers across the Central West were just as shocking – with 161 people killed and a further 1396 seriously injured on the roads.
Traffic and Highway Patrol Command Acting Sergeant Ian Stibbard said in recent times the Mitchell Highway, between Bathurst and Orange, had been the scene of many accidents, often with tragic outcomes.
It has led to more highly-visible police patrols on this stretch of road.
Acting Sergeant Stibbard also works in the crash investigation unit and said generally speaking there were many reasons behind the high number of accidents on Bathurst roads.
“There is still a relevance of alcohol and speed,” he said.
“We’re definitely seeing a lot more unlicensed or disqualified drivers.”
Acting Sergeant Stibbard said driver inattention was a serious concern for police officers, especially on country roads.
“If you’re driving at 100km/h that’s 27 metres a second,” he said.
“Reaction time can be 1.5 to 2.5 seconds, then add on to that the vehicle’s braking distance.
The faster you’re going the more chance you’ve got of serious injuries.Traffic and Highway Patrol Command Acting Sergeant Ian Stibbard
“It can take up to 100 metres for the vehicle to stop.
“The faster you’re going, the more chance you’ve got of serious injuries.”
And for drivers who are tired, distracted, or affected by drugs and alcohol, their reaction times are even slower.
Mobile phones are not the only cause of driver distraction, Acting Sergeant Stibbard said with changing the radio, talking to children or passengers in the car and even daydreaming on long country roads also to blame.
“They all take your attention off the roads,” he said. “It’s imperative that everyone pays attention to your own driving as well as others.”
Acting Sergeant Stibbard said the higher speeds and longer distances that regional motorists travel on a regular basis can lead to some drivers daydreaming on the road.
He said investigations are continuing into a recent accident on the Mitchell Highway where one motorist ran into the rear of another vehicle as it was attempting to turn off the roadway.
The accident left two people with head an internal injuries and they were transported to hospital.
“It’s still sad to see so much trauma on the roads,” Acting Sergeant Stibbard said.
By comparison there were 21 deaths and 265 people left seriously injured on roads around Orange and Cabonne during the same time period.
In Dubbo, there were 34 deaths and 206 people with serious injuries.
Across the Central West and Orana, around two thirds of those killed or seriously injured were male.