‘Enough’ pleads scared family

By Lachlan Durling

A STRATHALLAN family is living in fear that they could become another road toll statistic in their own home.

It comes after the fourth driver in five years lost control of their vehicle and went careering through the front fence of Michael and Wendy Haley’s Anderson Rd property on July 5, the vehicle coming to rest just centimetres from a dam.

And they have had enough.

“Three of the drivers who came through the fence said they hadn’t seen the corner,” Michael Haley said.

The family’s home is at the intersection of Strathallan and Anderson roads, where the road joins O’Dea Rd through two low-speed bends after a railway crossing.

However Mr Haley said drivers have been disobeying speed advisory signs and railway crossing warnings with potentially deadly consequences.

“They come over the railway line which is built up and by the time they see the bend in the road it’s too late, some of them are already airborne,” he said.

“One guy came through here and the police who attended said they think he was doing about 140km/h.

“He came through the drain, launched over the cacti and went past the dam. He only stopped when he hit some hay bales.”

The family said their requests for additional signage had not been met, meaning inexperienced drivers who may not be familiar with the road continued to come flying through the property boundary.

“We’ve been here 20 years and never had a problem, since the bridge on Strathallan Rd was upgraded, drivers can stay at 100km/h, and they do,” he said.

“They used to have to slow down and wouldn’t be going more than 80km/h before they hit the 80 zone over the railway line so they could slow down.

“I’m just worried some young buck is going to come flying over and end up trapped in their car in our dam – and I may not be able to save them.

“Or even worse, they come through our lounge room and we’re the casualties.”

But the current signage is sufficient according to Campaspe Shire infrastructure services general manager Richard Conway.

“Council has previously responded to service requests and provided treatments in the area including warning signs, line markings and bollards to assist drivers in maintaining appropriate speed and direction,” he said.

“Speed enforcement is the sole role of Victoria Police. Poor driver behaviour in the form of speeding and disobeying road rules is not within the remit of council and should be referred to the police.”

Campaspe Highway Patrol sergeant Paul Nicoll said while police are always targeting poor driver behaviour on our roads, the tyranny of distance plays a major role in enforcing the road rules.

“We patrol as much as we can however we can’t be in certain rural locations at all times,” he said.

“If a driver has had a collision, they will be charged or given the appropriate infringement for the offence.”

But for the Haley family, their message is simple: slow down.

“It’s taken it’s toll on Wendy – every time she hears tyres squealing she’s ready for the worst. You’re just waiting to hear the ‘bang’ that goes with it,” Michael said.

“We’re just hoping that we don’t walk out to find someone trapped or dead.”