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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

U-turn near misses underscore National Road Safety Week

In line with National Road Safety Week, 15-22 November, Canberrans are being reminded not to conduct illegal U-turns, especially across the light rail tracks.

Following eight near misses since April 2019, additional signage has been placed at the intersection of Flemington Road and Wizard Street in Gungahlin to remind motorists not to perform illegal U-turns.

Executive Branch Manager Light Rail Operations Transport Canberra, Jo Dawson, said the national initiative was important in reminding motorists to be safe on the road.

“This National Road Safety Week it is important to highlight the need to follow road rules at intersections and to be aware of light rail vehicles,” she said.  

“Light rail is part of Canberra’s landscape. It is vital that we take important steps to be safe. We all need to be vigilant when near light rail tracks whether we are passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, e-scooter riders or motorists.

“Thankfully in the eight incidents at the Gungahlin Wizard Street intersection, a major collision has been avoided thanks to the professionalism displayed by light rail drivers.”

There have been eight near misses between the light rail and Canberra motorists since April 2019.

The national initiative aims to honour the 1,200 people who die on Australian roads annually, while reminding motorists to be careful and considerate.

According to a 2019 road safety report, traffic injury is the biggest killer of Australian children under 15 years of age.

Each day during the initiative, a different theme will be highlighted, including driving safely to work, and moving over and slowing down for emergency services, roadside assist and roadside workers.

As at 31 October, ACT Policing had issued 38 infringements for illegal U-turns and 48 cautions.

“These figures, however, are not a true representation of how widespread illegal U-turns are,” Officer in Charge of Road Policing, Detective Acting Inspector Ivan Naspe said.

“Signs reading ‘no U-turn’ are erected to further highlight the dangers at intersections and to protect you, your passengers, other motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and, in this case, light rail vehicles.”

ACT Policing have also issued a warning this week about the importance of wearing seatbelts, especially for delivery drivers.

ACT Policing COVID-19 Taskforce, Detective Superintendent Hall O’Meagher said while COVID-19 had seen an increase in home delivery services, it was concerning to see the lack of seatbelt wearing.

“Some delivery drivers are either not wearing their seatbelt at all or are sitting on top of the seatbelt and pulling the sash component over their heads to avoid the seatbelt alarm,” he said.

“Wearing a seatbelt in this manner could be disastrous in the case of even low-level collisions with the lower part of the body moving unrestrained and the upper part held largely by the neck. 

“The reality is it saves very little time compared to wearing the belt correctly, and actually increases the likelihood of injury in a crash.”

The fine for not wearing a seatbelt is $502.

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