No fatalities but many serious injuries on Coffs Coast roads
THE Coffs Coast has (so far) dodged a bullet with local roads fatality free this holiday season.
Sudden death in twisted metal and the antics of a handful of rogue drivers will always hog the headlines.
But the real, almost hidden trauma is the trail of severe injuries left behind for police, ambulance paramedics, SES volunteers and medical professionals, to mop up - sometimes literally.
Since Boxing Day, dozens of people have been injured in local road traffic "accidents" that often leave authorities scratching heads in disbelief as to how they happened.
About 20 of those injuries have been on the extreme side of serious and the victims face long periods of recuperation, expense and pain.
One on Friday morning involved an elderly male cyclist who was seriously injured in a collision with a garbage truck at Moonee Beach.
How the incident happened is unclear but the cyclist suffered very severe injuries to his lower limbs, chest and arms and will require major remedial treatment to recover.
On Saturday, seven people including a 32-weeks pregnant woman were hospitalised after a three-vehicle incident near Wooli with several suffering broken bones.
Also on the weekend, one emergency worker reported driving at the maximum allowable speed with sirens howling to reach an incident on the Pacific Highway north of Coffs Harbour.
In heavy holiday traffic he was stunned to see an SVU roar past him in a dangerous manner and rapidly disappear into the distance.
In the first nine days of Operation Safe Arrival, police have booked motorists for 7953 speeding infringements and charged a further 481 with drink driving.
Head of the Operation, Assistant Commissioner John Hartley, said that while he is pleased deaths and bookings are down on 2012 figures, a feeling of frustration remains.
"Simple safety messages were being ignored, unnecessarily putting lives at risk," he said.
"Despite the senseless risks drivers are taking on the roads, we're seeing a slightly lower road toll compared to the same time last year, with nine fatalities this year, compared to 11 at the same time last year.
"Drivers taking unnecessary risks on the roads should remember that there is no such thing as breaking the road rules 'safely'.
"I urge all road users to think twice before risking their lives and the lives of others on the roads."