Concerns raised over dangerous Oberon roads

Concerns raised over dangerous Oberon roads

Jacob Gillard

Questions are being raised about the safety of routes near Oberon, following two accidents in as many days earlier this month.

One person is dead and another critically injured, with at least one of those accidents on Shooters Hill’s notorious sharp bends.

Inspector Colin Cracknell, of Chifley Local Area Command, says the driver in a critical condition was behind the wheel of a truck that ran out of control on a tight corner.

Sergeant Paul McCann, also from Chifley LAC,  says the Western Region Crash Investigation unit are preparing a report into the death 

The two accidents happened  on opposite sides of Oberon on separate days, with residents now saying not enough has been done to make the roads leading out of Oberon safer.

Over the past four years, four projects have been funded by the Federal Government in an attempt to curb the “black spot” (an area of high road accident concentration) problem in the area, but accidents are still occurring.

Statistics from the NSW Transport Department show that before the black spot projects began, from 2009-2011, four people died and sixty-eight people were injured on roads in or near Oberon. After the projects were completed, only two people died, but the number of injuries increased to seventy-two (2012-2013).

A graph of all road accidents in the Oberon LGA (deaths and accidents), from 2009 to 2013.

A graph of all road accidents in the Oberon LGA (deaths and accidents), from 2009 to 2013. Click to access interactive statistics. Source: NSW Transport

Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner John Hartley, says these accidents can be avoided, and urges caution to all drivers on country roads.

Sweden, found by the European Commission to have the world’s safest roads, sees three road fatalities per 100,000 citizens.

Roads in Sweden are built to accommodate all modes of transport, and prioritize safety over convenience and speed.

Police strictly patrol roads, and now only 0.25 per cent of drivers test over the legal limit, and annual child road deaths have gone from numbers nearing sixty during the 1970s to just one in 2012.

Sweden enjoys low fatalities and accident rates because “it won’t accept anything less”, according to Hans Berg of the country’s transport agency. Drivers are force to make safety a priority, which Mr. Berg says other countries would do well to replicate.

According to Swedish Government’s “Vision Zero” road safety plan, the mindset needed when tackling road safety is to rememebe that humans make mistakes. When human error arises, there should be safeguards put in place to protect those at risk.

A video explaining the mindset behind “Vision Zero”

Oberon Councillor Jill Evans, who works on the town’s Traffic Advisory Committee, says Oberon’s roads are a work in progress, but drivers can help by staying alert and using their common sense.


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