By Clair Morton
Last updated on: January 31, 2018 at 10:09 am
When a Country Fire Service crew attends more road crash rescues than fire call-outs, you know there’s a problem that needs to be fixed.
Between 2012 and 2016, there were 87 crashes along Victor Harbor Rd where at least one person was injured. Five people died.
Mt Compass resident and former captain of the local CFS, Leigh Duffield, believes human error contributed most of the incidents he’d seen on the road.
Despite this, he also thinks part of the solution to reducing the number of crashes on this road could lie in infrastructure improvements, including the duplication of lanes where possible.
Backing this up is a recent case study on the duplication of a 12km stretch of the Bruce Highway in Queensland, which showed fatal and serious-injury crashes reduced by 82% in the two years following its completion.
“It is a good answer, especially when you look around the world and see how a lot of these dual highways run,” Mr Duffield said.
“And some of the intersections can be improved too.
“Maintenance is a big problem – the government just hasn’t done it on country roads and when they do, the patch up work is substandard.”
Crashes resulting in injury on Victor Harbor Rd from 2012-16
Improving the infrastructure of Victor Harbor Rd is one of RAA’s four priorities in the lead up to the March state election.
RAA is asking for a commitment from all parliamentary candidates and political parties, to duplicate Victor Harbor Rd from its intersection with Main South Road through to Mt Compass, and for road widening and wide centreline treatment between Mount Compass and Victor Harbor.
RAA General Manager Engagement and Innovation Penny Gale said action was needed to boost safety on this popular stretch.
“Improving the infrastructure isn’t a silver bullet, but it’s a big part of the solution,” said Ms Gale.
“Over the past five years, on average, there has been a one third (34%) increase in traffic volumes between Main South Road and Mt Compass and there’s no sign this growth in the southern suburbs will slow down any time soon.
“Head-on collisions are one of the most common crash types on this road in recent years, mainly occurring south of Mount Compass, which suggests that motorists are not driving to the conditions of the road and that Victor Harbor Rd itself can’t cope with the amount of traffic that travels on it each day.
“The road needs to be improved to address the increasing traffic volumes and limited overtaking opportunities available to drivers.”
RAA’s other election priorities include the establishment of an independent Safety Camera Commissioner, upgrades to the Horrocks Highway between Gawler and Clare, and the extension of road-safety education for SA Primary Schools.