Fatalities a ‘wake up call’

Two fatal accidents near Dunedoo in the space of a week has highlighted a need for heightened awareness on the Golden Highway.

A male truck driver was killed on Sunday when the eastbound semi-trailer he was driving struck a tree near Fairfield Lane, east of the town.

Damage to the truck’s fuel lines caused the grain hauler to catch alight at the scene, which was just a few kilometres from the site of an accident which claimed the life of a man in his 70s just seven days prior.

Due to population growth and a myriad of other factors the Golden Highway is becoming increasingly busy, and motorists need to be aware of that.

Peter McMenamin

Western Region Traffic Tactician, Inspector Peter McMenamin, said the fatal accidents were two of just a handful of incidents to occur on the highway in recent weeks.

“There has been five traffic events in the Dunedoo-Cassilis region in the past few weeks, with the others occurring in the northern sector and not being attended by our officers,” Inspector McMenamin said.

“But it is a wake-up call because certainly two fatalities in such quick succession in that area is rare. Due to population growth and a myriad of other factors the Golden Highway is becoming increasingly busy, and motorists need to be aware of that.

“Its use is increasing significantly and it is a major route now, particularly on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays when people might be travelling to Newcastle or the holiday towns just north, or the Hunter Valley, and then returning home.”

The increased use of the highway has led the highway patrol division to conduct more frequent monitoring of the thoroughfare.

In fact, on the past two Sundays when the fatalities occurred, a highway patrol vehicle has been just a few kilometres from the scene.

Inspector McMenamin also welcomed an increase in funding through the federal and state governments to improve rest areas along the highway.

“Anything done to give drivers the chance to pull over and take a break if they need to is a good thing,” he said.