That’s the message police are pushing this holiday season in the hope of preventing tragedies such as last year’s fatal Boxing Day crash on the South Coast.
South Coast Highway Patrol’s senior supervisor Andrew Palmowski was one of the first responders to the crash south of Nowra that killed five people. This holiday season, at the top of his wishlist is the hope all road users get home safely.
Senior Sergeant Palmowski said he never wanted to see another tragedy and police would target those who caused them.
“The holiday period is a time for people to go away and enjoy their time with their families, and there are some selfish individuals that use our roads who really have no concern for others,” he said.
“They’re the ones we’re out to target.”
It’s tragic for the families, but it’s also tragic for the first respondersChief Inspector Greg Lynch
Southern Region traffic tactician Greg Lynch said holiday tragedies affected emergency service crews.
“It’s tragic for the families, but it’s also tragic for the first responders,” Chief Inspector Lynch said.
“When you have a build up of attending tragic incidents, it really affects you personally. We’re no different to anybody else.”
He urged drivers to consider not only themselves, but other road users and those who had to pick up the pieces after a serious crash.
“Consider your own safety, consider the safety of others and consider the safety of those who have to come and pull you out of car wrecks,” he said.
Almost one year on, officers from the Southern Region’s Highway Patrol are preparing for another busy holiday season, convening in Batemans Bay on Monday to prepare for the influx of holidaymakers.
Senior Sergeant Palmowski said officers from the city would be deployed to the region at Christmas to bolster numbers in the area and ensure drivers were safe on the roads.
We need to be there to ensure they’re wearing their seatbelts or not driving around in a daze talking on their phonesChief Inspector Greg Lynch
“Highway Patrol will be targeting the major highways – the Princes Highway, the Snowy Monaro Highway and the Kings Highway – to provide a profile and visible enforcement so that motorists can see we are out there and that anybody caught doing the wrong thing will be stopped,” Senior Sergeant Palmowski said.
“Speeding, being one the biggest causal factors of serious injury and fatal collisions, is one of our focuses, along with drink driving and impaired drivers.”
During Operation Safe Arrival, which will run from December 21, 2018 to January 1, 2019, motorists can expect to see plenty of police on the roads.
“In the Bay area, our focus is the Kings Highway,” Chief Inspector Lynch said.
“We get a lot of traffic coming in from the ACT and all those travelling down from Sydney on the Princes Highway.
“They are a real focus on the main travel days, and outside of that, when people are at their destinations, we need to be there to ensure they’re wearing their seatbelts or not driving around in a daze talking on their phones.”
The officers urged motorists to be patient in the often stressful holiday traffic jams.
“Everyone wants to get to where they’re going in a quick way, but sometimes, with traffic conditions, we’ve got to slow down,” Senior Sergeant Palmowski said.
“Taking those unnecessary risks leads to accidents and misfortunes, and then everyone needs to stop and everyone is delayed.
“Just take your time and get there in one piece.”