Accident proves Fraser's point
THE case to beef up police numbers on the Coffs Coast has been highlighted in dramatic fashion by the man most passionately driving the issue.
Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser was first on the scene of an accident – he believed was a fatality – just north of the Big Banana on Tuesday.
He watched two police cars speed past the incident and when he rang the Coffs Harbour station for assistance, the phone rang out.
“This just proves what I've been saying all along – we desperately need more police here,” he said shortly after writing a personal letter to the new Police and Roads ministers about the incident.
In his letter, Mr Fraser said: “I immediately rang the police to report the accident.
“At that time I honestly expected to see someone deceased in one of the vehicles. Luckily this was not the case.”
The police, due to a fatality at Macksville and a reported armed hold up at Moonee Beach, had no one available to attend.
In fact two police cars passed the scene of the accident on the way to the hold up at Moonee Beach (which turned out to be a break in).
“After approximately 10 minutes I re-telephoned the Coffs Harbour Police Station to find out why no one had attended the accident and the phone rang out.
“I then telephoned the Local Area Commander on his mobile and advised him of the positions of the vehicles on the road and the increasing flows of traffic, and suggested that if something was not done immediately the possibility of a fatal accident was imminent.
“After finalising my call with Superintendent Holahan I then photographed the scene and authorised the tow truck drivers to remove the vehicles in order that the possibility of another accident occurring was negated.”
Coffs/Clarence Command Superintendent Mark Holahan was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Mr Fraser highlighted two more points resulting from the incident he believed warranted urgent attention.
He believes tow truck drivers should be authorised to photograph vehicles involved in accidents where life threatening injuries or fatalities do not occur and remove the vehicles from the road to reduce congestion and therefore reduce the possibility of further accidents.
He also asked for changed traffic conditions at the area.
“This accident is yet another on an intersection with a long accident history and daily increase in traffic flows,” Mr Fraser wrote.
“I would therefore ask that a roundabout be constructed at this intersection to slow vehicles, especially south bound semi-trailers, who have a long history, after hours, of ignoring the speed limit of 80 km/h and there have been at least one or two major accidents one-kilometre south of this accident scene due to the speed of these vehicles and the configuration of the highway.
“This roundabout would increase safety on this intersection, which is heavily utilised by school buses, parents and teachers, as well as hundreds of people commuting to work from the northern beaches area, morning and afternoon. A roundabout would also decrease the speed of traffic coming into the 80 km zone when heading south.”
Ironically, at the time of the accident, the Canberra-based CEO of the Big Banana's owners, Village Building company, Bob Winnell, was addressing the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce asking for traffic lights to be installed at the same location.