TeenSafe senior driving instructor Gary Smith has welcomed an extra $10 million in NSW Government funds for the Princes Highway between Batemans and Tomerong – but wants the funding handbrake taken off further south.
Mr Smith endorses Fairfax Media’s FIX IT NOW campaign, but thinks the situation warrants the B word – he is giving away fence signs saying “Fix the Bloody Highway”.
“The recent $10 mil funding for the highway is good news and a much needed start to make the Princes Highway safer,” Mr Smith said.
“However, it will take much more funding and years of work to properly Fix The Bloody Highway.
“Hopefully this initial funding will provide more overtaking lanes and centre barriers in the short term.
“Speed is not the issue on the highway; it is a combination of minimal overtaking lanes, driver fatigue and distraction.
“The original highway was not designed for the busy traffic flow of today, much bigger trucks and increasing number of large caravans.
“It is not a forgiving highway when a minor driving error occurs.
“We are all at risk.”
Mr Smith said TeenSafe had been teaching safer driving to Eurobodalla Shire youth for 30 years and he had been involved for 20.
Sending teens out onto the highway was nervewracking.
“We get behind the wheel to teach them safe driving and we are then worried the highway is not safe enough,” he said.
"Mostly it is a double-lane road divided by a painted line. It is our lifeline for the economy and the safety of people and it is just not up to scratch.”
Mr Smith endorsed the NRMA’s call for a divided highway to the Victoria border, but his primary focus was from Nowra to Narooma.
In the short-term, wire dividers and more overtaking lanes would help avert head-on crashes.
“P-platers doing the right thing driving at 80kms – there is nowhere to overtake,” he said.
“Drivers get frustrated.”
He called for the state and federal governments to reach agreement on diverting “80-20” funding from the Pacific Highway.
“The state government was talking about finding $2 billion for a sports arena in Sydney, if they can find that sort of money that should be directed to saving lives on the Princes Highway,” he said.
If you want a sign visit www.teensafemoruya.org