A horror week on our roads

It’s been a week of horror on the Hume for truck drivers and motorists.

Four people have died on roads in our region within seven days, two semi trailers have caught alight, and several more motorists have been injured in a spate of incidents within the local area.

Yass highway patrol senior constable Mat Carroll lamented the number of recent road deaths here.

“The Gouburn Local Area Command has had four fatalities since last Friday, we’ve lost people from the age of seven to 59,” he said on Tuesday.

He said Yass’ location on a major freight route meant a large number of heavy vehicles travelled through the valley and police did see a lot of heavy vehicle accidents.

But our smaller country roads were faring no better.

“Two out of three of these fatals have been on back roads,” he said.

The most recent accident was a double fatality on the Hume Highway near Gunning on Tuesday. A 58-year-old male driver and his 59-year-old male passenger were killed when their b-double truck crossed over the median and northbound lanes and down a steep embankment.

The cause of the crash is still being investigated. The driver had relatives living in Yass.

A seven-year-old boy was killed near Bungonia on Sunday. The car had been carrying two adults and four children on Jerrara Road, near Goulburn, about 4.45pm on Sunday when the vehicle left the roadway and crashed into a tree. A ten-year-old girl was airlifted to Canberra Hospital for treatment.

A 16-year-old Crookwell boy was killed in a single vehicle road accident driving from Crookwell to Grabben Gullen at about 4am November 30 when his ute left the road and crashed into a tree.

Motorists were forced to veer out of the way as an ACT car was driven the wrong direction along the Hume Highway near Goulburn on Sunday. Three police cars had to respond and the car was eventually stopped at Boxers Creek by another motorist after about 20 kilometres.

The 59-year-old driver, who was unwell and confused at the time, was charged with driving in a manner dangerous and had his licence automatically suspended.

The Hume Highway was completely closed southbound at Yass on November 29 after a truck carrying toxic tile bonding agent crashed and burst into flames 500 metres south of the Yass Service Centre on November 29. The truck had been transporting toxic tile bonding agent which caught fire. The driver escaped without injury.

One lane of the Hume Highway at Gunning was blocked the same morning after a prime mover caught alight at about 10.30am. The truck had been carrying non-toxic building materials at the time and the driver was uninjured.

Several other motorists had been involved in minor accidents during the past week.

A truck veered off Lachlan Valley way on Wednesday December 5, with the truck crashing down an embankment. The driver was unhurt but the truck had to be retrieved.

A hot wheel bearing which came off a truck on the Hume Highway at Manton in high winds on Wednesday started a fire which burnt out two acres of grassland.

Senior constable Carroll said during the Christmas period, highway patrol would be out in force.

“Police will be maintaining a high presence on back roads and main roads to keep the road toll as low as possible.

“In the lead up to Christmas we’re doing the same message as previous years – we encourage motorists to drive to the conditions, wear seat belts, don’t drink and drive, and if they feel fatigued they should pull over.

“Leading up to Christmas there is going to be increased traffic flow and all of the above factors are going to come into play.”

Indicators show accidents within a small radius of Yass town within the last 10 days, including:

- Lachlan Valley Way: truck veered off the road, crashing through bushland.

- Hume Highway: truck engulfed in fire, about 500 mstres south of the Yass Service Centre.

- Hume Highway: a hot wheel bearing from a truck starts a grass fire at Manton.

- Hume Highway: two men are killed after their truck careers across four lanes and penetrates deep into bushland, south of Gunning.

- Hume Highway: a truck catches fire near Gunning, with driver escaping okay.

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