South West road toll rises

Photo: Bunbury Mail.
Photo: Bunbury Mail.

A 55-year-old Marybrook man has faced Bunbury Magistrates Court charged with dangerous driving occasioning death following the third fatal crash to have occurred in the South West in less than one week.

Police allege about 7:30pm on Thursday evening, January 16, a Ford Falcon sedan travelling along Bussell Highway veered onto the wrong side of the carriageway before colliding with a Volvo semi-trailer.

It is understood the head-on collision caused the semi-trailer to leave the carriageway and roll, closing Bussell Highway in both directions between Stirling Road and Tuart Drive.

Tragically, the collision proved fatal for the driver of the semi-trailer, Thomas Patrick Fox.

The driver of the Ford Falcon sedan, Glenn William Bailey, appeared before Magistrate Brian Mahon on January 17 and was released on bail with a $10,000 personal undertaking.

Bailey is due to return to court on February 13.

The crash prompted online discussion about the need for a dual carriageway on Bussell Highway between Capel and Busselton, a move that a Main Roads spokesperson stressed remained a priority for government.

According to the state's Road Safety Commission, eight of the nine fatalities in WA this year have occurred on regional roads and the fatalities in the South West make up half of all regional road deaths.

In fact, three of the four crashes in the South West occurred within just 65 kilometres of each other.

The incident occurred less than 24 hours after a 21-year-old man died after the 2004 Blue Holden Commodore sedan he was travelling in crossed onto the wrong side of the road and struck a tree on Changerup Road.

The driver of the vehicle, a 19-year-old woman, and two other passengers in their 20s were taken to Royal Perth Hospital.

On Tuesday, January 14, a man was airlifted to Perth following a single-vehicle crash near Myalup.

The crash occurred just kilometres from where a 41-year old man and his 37-year-old wife died just days earlier when their vehicle rolled numerous times on Forrest Highway in Binningup.

WA Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts acknowledged the tragic start to the year on WA roads and encouraged travellers to break up their journey and address fatigue.

"People will be aware that we've had a sad start to the year," she said.

"What we know is one of the key factors in country road deaths is fatigue, so I would encourage people that when you slow down through these towns actually consider stopping."

The state government has also implemented a Regional Enforcement Unit, with 25 additional officers deployed on key country roads - including the South West.