Christmas carnage: Road toll spike angers senior police

Christmas carnage: Road toll spike angers senior police

They have been young men travelling alone, older men waiting in parked cars, young women walking along a road and middle-aged women sitting in passenger seats.

They have occurred before dawn on lonely country roads and during peak hour in front of dozens of witnesses on major city thoroughfares.

And they have gone from having a seat at a Christmas dinner table to statistics in the soaring festive season road toll which now sits at 20 dead across NSW in 11 days.

Senior police made their latest plea for holidaymakers to remain safe after three people were killed and a further two suffered life-threatening injuries during a two-vehicle crash on the Princes Highway south of Sussex Inlet on Tuesday.

The highway at Mondayong near Bendalong was closed in both directions on Tuesday morning after a man driving a Prado collided with a Mazda carrying four people.

The man in the Prado and two people in the front of the Mazda were killed.

Two women were pulled from the back of the Mazda by witnesses and police as fire engulfed the vehicles.

They were flown to separate hospitals in critical conditions.

Police are working to identify the burnt remains of the dead.

NSW Highway and Traffic commander Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said the crash was “an absolute tragedy” and police were investigating reports the Prado was on the wrong side of the road before the crash.

“Three people look like they’ve been incinerated and we have two very, very critically injured people,” he told reporters in Sydney.

“If that doesn’t send a message out about driving behaviour on our roads in NSW over this Christmas period nothing will,” he added, pleading with motorists to drive safely.

The tragedy followed the death of a man after his car hit an embankment at Pappinbarra, about 40 kilometres from Port Macquarie, about 6.50am on Tuesday.

The four Boxing Day deaths, plus a pedestrian who died several days after being struck in Bonnyrigg, and the death of a woman in a single-vehicle crash at Taree on Tuesday evening, took the Christmas-New Year road toll to 20.

In the first 11 days of Operation Safe Arrival last year, seven people had been killed on NSW roads.

And with six days still to go, this year’s toll is already seven more than for the entire 18-day period last year.

“That is more than one person a day which is quite alarming. It is just not good enough,” Mr Corboy said.

“NSW residents need to take some responsibility and realise that all it takes is one distraction and you could lose your life or kill a family travelling on the roads this holiday period.

“It is a time to be merry and enjoy spending time with your family and unfortunately day after day, police are left to pick up the pieces and deliver horrific messages to families.”

He said there were more police on roads targeting drivers for dangerous behaviours that have led to loss of life on our roads, including speeding, drink and drug-driving, mobile phone use, and not wearing seatbelts. Double demerits remain in force.

The deaths have pushed the state’s road toll this year to 381, about the same as the 2016 figure but an increase of more than 30 deaths from 2015.

“We have gone from disappointed to being angry and that’s an understatement,” Mr Corboy said.

“It has actually strengthened our resolve and we will be putting in place more and more police officers from now until the end of the year.”

with AAP

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.