Complacency kills drivers

Yet again it has been a deadly few days on Border roads.

It seems that no sooner than the warnings have been issued by police for motorists to take care than this is forgotten about and tragedy visits.

What makes the latest two deaths so terrible, yet again, is the crashes simply should never have happened.

And even if it was unavoidable in one, a driver taking more heed of the conditions might have allowed him to escape with his life.

The factors that led to the deaths in separate crashes will, of course, still need to be looked at closely in coronial inquiries.

But at the outset it appears that greater care would have produced different outcomes as the fatalities have prompted a warning from police about safe driving.

The most recent of the two deaths occurred on the Hume Highway near Little Billabong, north of Albury, when a man’s car left the road and crashed into a tree in the early hours of Monday morning

The 23-year-old Melbourne man’s passenger, a man, 28, was able to get out of the wreck of the car, which had gone into the centre culvert and rolled into a tree.

It is likely that fatigue was involved, given that the men were on a return trip from Melbourne to Sydney, and police think it possible the car might have hit wildlife.

As Detective Inspector Winston Woodward said of the incident: “I think the big message here to get out is when you’re driving at 2.30 in the morning, on a country road or any road for that matter, be aware of wildlife and be aware of fatigue issues. It’s a tragedy for the family.

“It’s a tragedy for the emergency services who have attended.”

The earlier death, on Sunday night on the Riverina Highway near Corowa, was another case of someone dying unnecessarily.

Put simply, police believe it most likely that driver error caused a head-on crash between a LandCruiser, driven by a 45-year-old Bright man who died at the scene, and a B-double truck.

It is clear then that this fatal crash should never have happened. And it shows that you have don’t have to be someone who flouts the law by drinking alcohol or using drugs before you get behind the wheel, or ignoring the speed limit, to end up yet another road statistic.

It can instead just as easily be a case of not driving attentively and failing to take proper account of the conditions.

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