New safety measures at Urunga after fatalities


Focus on speed camera policy after ute crash forces B-double off road and into house

January 9, 2012

NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay has sought interim road-safety measures following the double fatality involving a truck in the NSW town of Urunga.

It is believed a ute ran into the path of the truck, killing the ute driver and causing the banana-laden B-double to leave the Pacific Highway and run into a house, killing an 11-year-old boy.

The accident has put a spotlight on the State Government’s review of speed cameras.

Bellingen Mayor Mark Troy has been quoted as saying he has lobbied for the reinstatement of a speed camera near the site.

The government says the accident occurred about 800 metres north of a speed camera site, which had been turned off following the Auditor-General’s 2011 speed camera audit which had identified it as one of 38 locations not delivering the desired road safety benefit.

At this stage it is not known whether speed was a factor in the crash and this will not be determined until the NSW Police complete their investigation, it adds

"I have asked Transport for NSW and RMS to accelerate the implementation of alternative road safety treatments at the Urunga site," Gay says.

"These measures will include the installation of flashing illuminated speed limit signs to ensure motorists are aware of the changed speed zone, improved road markings and additional signage warning drivers of approaching curves.

"I also have asked RMS to activate the speed camera in warning mode so that speeding motorists receive a warning notice (not a speeding fine) while the success of these alternative treatments can be assessed.

"Some experts and the community have also expressed concern that the speed camera was not in the right location to slow heavy vehicles through the Urunga township.

"They have suggested a better mechanism would be point-to-point speed enforcement across a longer stretch of highway through Urunga, which would slow heavy vehicles through the whole town, helping to eliminate the occurrence of heavy vehicles slowing at the site of the fixed speed camera and then accelerating afterwards.

"I have asked Transport for NSW to immediately assess this option and if the appropriate criteria are met to install a point-to-point heavy vehicle speed camera along this stretch."

The stretch of highway on either side of the town is part of the long-term duplication of the Pacific Highway.

"Planning and preconstruction activities are currently proceeding on the Nambucca to Urunga project to prepare it for major work," Gay says.

"Upgrading this section of road, which includes a bypass of the Urunga township, is a priority for the NSW Government."

The injured truck driver and his passenger were taken hospital.

NSW Assistant Police Commissioner John Hartley was quoted by AAP as saying: ''We'll be looking at fatigue and the other areas of interest to see what the driver of the truck was doing for that period before.''

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