BRUSH UP: All road users can improve their skills, regardless of their age or experience.
BRUSH UP: All road users can improve their skills, regardless of their age or experience. Scott Powick

Intervention program paves a road to better safety

IF THE entire population of Tweed Heads, Murwillumbah and Kingscliff combined was in hospital – or the morgue – at the same time, it would be an outrage.

But 20,000 people are injured – or killed – in road traffic crashes on NSW roads each year.

Wednesday night marked the final session of the six-week Traffic Offenders Intervention Program at Tweed Heads PCYC.

It was presented by former Tweed/Byron LAC Superintendent Michael Kenny, who also presented the first night.

When he was still working at the Lake Macquarie LAC, Mr Kenny said he was shocked his command was the second worst in the state for drink driving.

After investigating he found Tweed/Byron LAC, which he would ultimately lead before retirement, was number one.

That’s not a title he wanted to claim.

He said police laboriously examined the numbers and the issues to establish why the region’s statistics were so bad, from holiday-makers to festival attendees, but these weren’t the answer.

“The majority of offenders are locals,” he said.

Police still haven’t pinpointed why our residents seem more blasé about drink driving, and increasingly drug driving, but he hoped this program could help to mould minds, young and old, to make better choices, which led to fewer crashes.

Mr Kenny said there were many valuable lessons all drivers could learn.

“When you get your Learner’s you’re the safest driver you will ever be,” he said.

“When you get your Ps, you’re the most dangerous.”

Many years of experience could sometimes be detrimental.

“It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been driving or how experienced you are,” he said.

“There’s always more information you can learn to keep yourself safer on the road, and there’s emerging challenges that we all must be able to deal with.”

Safe driver?

This is how far you’ll typically travel between seeing a hazard and putting your foot on the brake:

  • At 60kmh: 16.7m
  • At 80kmh: 22.2m
  • Crashing into an object will have this equivalent force on your body:
  • 50kmh crash = fall from a three-storey building
  • 100kmh crash = fall from a 12-storey building

Did you know?

Deadly tired: Fatigue accounts for 19% of all NSW road fatalities and can have the same functional effects as drink driving.

Big trouble: If you’re travelling at 100kmh you will travel 111 metres during a four-second micro-sleep.

A little over? Your risk of causing a casualty doubles with each 5kmh over on a 60kmh road, or with every 10kmh on a 110kmh road.

Costly fun: Losing traction (chucking a burnout) can cost you $1200, and your car will be impounded for three months if it was intentional.

Any age: Your chance of a T-bone or head-on crash is not affected by your age or driving experience.

Distracted? Young drivers are more likely to run off the road in a single-vehicle crash due to distractions (on straight stretches) and speeding (on bends).

Reaction time: Your likelihood of having a rear-end collision actually increases with your driving experience.

No accident: The human factors of speed, alcohol and drugs, distractions, fatigue, poor vehicle maintenance and inexperience play a part in almost all road incidents. Emergency services consider very few crashes to be “true accidents”.

All covered: Your insurance cover is void if you were breaking the law or were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of an incident. Claims can also be rejected if a car is deemed not roadworthy or unsafe.

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