Saving Lives Together

The first responder you don’t want to meet this Queen’s Birthday

27 Sep 2019

St John Ambulance and Critical Care Paramedic Josh Lyons really is a great guy, but he doesn’t want to meet you this Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

As Western Australians make their way around the state to enjoy the holidays, the Road Safety Commission and St John Ambulance have joined forces to share vital advice for a safe road trip.

“Plan your journey, if you’re not aware of the roads you’re travelling on, familiarise yourself with them,” said Josh.
“We talk about fatigue, and it’s not just feeling sleepy, it’s inattention after long periods of driving so take a break, have that cup of coffee or switch drivers.

“If you need to overtake, do it only when it’s safe and do not exceed the speed limit.

“Please don’t drink and drive and don’t get in the car if someone else is drinking and driving, it’s a really simple request yet every long weekend we see it.

“Don’t rush. If you get to the destination 20 minutes after you wanted to but you get there in one piece, that’s the best possible outcome.”

Josh admits, there is an increase in the number of road trauma jobs he attends both in the ambulance and the RAC Rescue Chopper during WA’s holiday periods.

Between 2014 and 2018, there were 13 fatalities and 81 serious injuries on WA roads over the Queen’s Birthday long weekends, with fatigue recorded as the most common contributing factor in those crashes.

“On regional roads, working on the aircraft, we see quite often single vehicle crashes during the public holidays,” said Josh.

“We don’t define what caused those crashes but often it’s inexperience and inattention, and people say I wasn’t looking where I was going, just slipped into the gravel and then had a car accident.

“Often, we see people from the local areas involved in those crashes, either they’ve collided with another vehicle or they’re on their own and crashed on a road they know really well.”

The consequences of a car crash are far reaching, with the ripple effect impacting more people than those involved in the crash, including emergency service personnel like Josh.

“It has a profound effect upon the first responders, the paramedics, the police, the firies, but at first, you’re very patient-focused,” said Josh.

“Afterwards you reflect and I’m young, I go out, I travel, and I go camping and it’s very easy to think that could have been me if I’d made a silly decision.

“You know that loved ones and family are going to be forever affected by a split second decision that was the wrong decision to make that may have caused a fatality or incapacitated a person.”

Double demerit points will apply to a number of traffic offences from Friday 27 September to Monday 30 September inclusive.

The Road Safety Commission website has more information on how to plan your journey, avoid fatigue and reach your destination safely.
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    Acknowledgement of Country

    The Government of Western Australia acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community.
    We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.

    The Road Safety Commission is a portfolio within WA Police Force. It reports to the Minister for Road Safety, Hon. Michelle Roberts MLA.