South Australia’s high road death toll has increased again barely an hour into the long weekend, prompting police to go into graphic detail about the latest fatal crash in an effort to get their safety message through to drivers.
- Two drivers, aged 31 and 35, were killed at the scene
- One of the trucks burst into flames
- Police have rated the current crash risk three times higher than normal
Two truck drivers were killed when their B-doubles crashed head-on on the Augusta Highway at Miranda, between Port Augusta and Port Pirie in the state’s north.
Emergency services were called to the scene, about five kilometres south of Horrocks Pass Road, just after 1:00am.
One of the trucks had burst into flames and both drivers — a 31-year-old man from the Port Augusta area and a 35-year-old man from Campbelltown in suburban Adelaide — died at the scene.
“One of the occupants was incinerated,” Superintendent Bob Gray said.
“Police and emergency services responded to an absolutely devastating and horrific scene.
“Crash investigators do not want to spend their Easter going to these type of scenes, nor do other emergency services.”
The state’s currently stands at 38 compared to 22 at the same time last year, and police frustration at the situation was clear at a media conference this afternoon.
“We drew a line in the sand because we’re very, very concerned that the messaging isn’t getting through,” he said.
“When are people going to understand?
“It’s dry. Conditions shouldn’t have contributed to this fatality.”
Despite pre-Easter pleas for drivers to take extra care, including the launch of a new campaign called Enough Is Enough, Superintendent Gray said the latest crash had been preventable.
“Road death is a serious problem in our state at the moment,” he said.
“Two families were devastated when police knocked on their doors in the early hours of the morning to tell them that their loved ones wouldn’t be coming home.
“I don’t want to be standing here again over the Easter break talking about another tragic fatality.”
Road risk currently three times greater
Police said fatigue had been a potential factor in the crash, and are still trying to determine what cargo the gutted truck was carrying.
The Augusta Highway has partially reopened to traffic, but drivers are being warned of ongoing delays.
Police crash investigators have attended the scene to examine the circumstances of the incident.
Emergency services have repeatedly urged drivers to take care following a series of destructive road accidents since the start of the year.
Less than two weeks ago, a truck driver was killed in another fiery crash which also occurred on a rural stretch of highway.
Police have rated the crash risk this weekend three times higher than normal.
“We know that a high percentage of crashes occur within the metropolitan area as people are leaving Adelaide,” Superintendent Gray said on Wednesday.
“Historically, the risk of a crash is three times greater … so I am appealing for the public to take extra care, plan ahead and be patient.”
Police said the fact that this Easter holiday period coincided with school holidays added to the risk on the roads.
In the previous five years, three people were killed on SA’s roads at Easter.