Kings Highway campaign misses target

A campaign urging users of the Kings Highway to “Drive to the Conditions this summer” was launched last Friday in Bungendore by the Kings Highway Road Safety Partnership, however its message may have been lost as the Canberra Times Report of the launch was headed “Horror road in need of multimillion upgrade.”

The Partnership is made up of local shires, ACT and NSW Police, the NRMA ACT Road Safety Trust and the RMS. The safety campaign is aimed principally at the ACT drivers using the road over the summer months as NSW Police and ACT Police data shows that last summer, from December 2011 to January 2012, there were 348 speeding tickets issued to Kings Highway road users. Of those tickets, 39% were to motorists from the ACT, 8% from Queanbeyan and 6% from Batemans Bay.

Although the Canberra Times acknowledged that “Canberrans were the worst offenders on the highway last summer”, the message emphasised was the need for more funding, reporting that “The NSW government handed over $5 million in its last budget to fix a number of dangerous spots along the road. But motoring groups have warned much more was needed to prevent the road from becoming a death trap for Canberrans descending on the south coast over the summer months.

The NRMA said upgrades to the road have not kept up with traffic volumes, and that $500 million was now needed to realign sections and upgrade passing lanes.

NRMA regional director Alan Evans said there was an ''enormous'' amount of work to be done to lessen the risks for those travelling to and from the coast.”

The Kings Highway Safety Partnership was formed five years ago and strives to keep the Kings Highway free of fatalities and serious crashes by promoting safe and enforcing bad behaviour.

This summer, the Kings Highway Road Safety Partnership is anticipating a reduction in the number of speeding tickets due to two important changes in NSW legislation:

* In March this year, the transfer or sharing of demerit points between the ACT and NSW came into effect. By closing an administrative loophole, the legislation change means that points lost by speeding ACT drivers in NSW or by NSW drivers in the Territory will be recorded against their licence despite the offence taking place across the border.

* Now when a vehicle exceeds the legal speed limit by 45km/h or more, police are automatically entitled to seize and impound a vehicle and its registration plates.

Batemans Bay Highway Patrol Sergeant, Angus Duncombe, says both NSW and ACT Police will not tolerate fools on the Kings Highway this summer.

“As part of our coordinated high visibility enforcement strategy, if you speed you will be caught,” said Sergeant Duncombe.

He says irresponsible driving not only endangers the lives of other road users but also those of every individual in your vehicle.

Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Road Safety Officer, Karen Sydenham, “Drive to the conditions simply means stay alert, slow down and stay in control.”

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