Consider a loved one not being at Christmas table

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
South West traffic acting Sgt Ian Harris and Sen. Const. Kirstie Rowe ask roadusers to think about the possibility of an empty seat at the table this Christmas.
Camera IconSouth West traffic acting Sgt Ian Harris and Sen. Const. Kirstie Rowe ask roadusers to think about the possibility of an empty seat at the table this Christmas. Credit: Jon Gellweiler

South West police have revealed the toll it takes on officers being the first responders to serious and fatal crashes in the region.

It comes as police are asking road users to think about the possibility of an empty seat at the Christmas table this festive season.

And it follows a horrific year on the State’s roads with 187 deaths so far including 116 on regional roads – 23 in the South West.

Traffic officer-in-charge Sgt Craig Clarke told the South Western Times the “difficult and challenging” year was hard on everyone in the community.

“It’s very taxing on officers, to say the least,” Sgt Clarke said.

“It takes a big toll on them, not only the fatalities and serious crashes, but having to inform the family members as well.

“I really take my hat off to them.”

He said he personally encouraged officers to be open and talk about the challenges they faced and the entire police force provided support.

“That’s the environment we’re trying to create, where people are comfortable to talk to us or family and friends,” he said.

He said despite an increase in deaths on the State’s roads, police believed they were making a dent and he encouraged road users to continue improving driver behaviour.

“This year has been difficult and challenging, but generally I think that we’ve made a difference,” Sgt Clarke said.

“Driver behaviour is changing, especially with the community getting involved with dash cameras and things.”

“We can’t change the behaviour by ourselves, we need the help from the community to stamp out this poor driving which is claiming lives.”

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