There should be roadside rest areas every 10 kilometres, according to an expert who believes this is crucial in reducing driver fatigue and cutting the death toll.
Norm Bolitho, former advanced driver trainer believes rest stops more frequently distributed will help motorists rest and use their mobile phones safely.
“Driver fatigues comes upon you quickly and needs immediate action,” he said.
“That action is to get off the road and rest, but to do so requires rest areas at frequent intervals.”
His views on driver fatigue are shared by police and rescue services. Mr Bolitho recently wrote to the state government, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), the NRMA and local authorities who called for action.
Mr Bolitho said authorities should identify areas where rest areas should be established and install signs. He said later on the site could be developed to include toilet facilities etc.
“It can be done so cheaply using what we’ve got, we just need the signs,” he said.
“I identified six sites between Orange and Molong the other day that would be perfectly useable.”
He said sites used by the RMS for gravel dumps would fit cars and caravans while old re-alignments could take semi-trailers and cars.
“When they are doing the road re-alignments they could grade a rest area,” he said.
All those things should be on the agenda every time they do a road re-alignment.
“You need good signage before the areas so you can prepare yourself to pull off the road safely.
“They don’t have to be flash, the key is the signage.”
Mr Bolitho highlighted how quickly fatigue on the road can turn into accident. He said you begin feeling tired and all of sudden your eyes close and in a second a crash can occur.
“I am well acquainted with the effects of driver fatigue and the need to urgently get off the road and rest but have struggled to find somewhere to do so.”
Although Mr Bolitho’s calls were for rest areas for all motorists, as we are aware truck drivers spend more time on the road than the average road user and are therefore more prone to suffer from fatigue and its effects. Find out more at www.centralwesterndaily.com.au