Fatigued hunters driving after shooting weekends are in police crosshairs

RECREATIONAL hunters from Orange heading west on weekend shoots are being warned of the risks of driving while fatigued.

Alarming figures reveal seven lives have been lost on one particularly notorious stretch of Central West road since 2009.

The Mitchell Highway between Trangie and Nevertire has become a noted black spot, with 13 crashes reported in that same eight-year period.

The most recent of those came earlier this month when a single-vehicle accident claimed the life of teenager Jake Fardell on the way home from a hunting trip.

Money has recently been allocated by the state government to upgrade safety features along the highway, but the statistics have also forced the hand of police to turn their attention to driver fatigue, especially among those who like to head west on excursions to hunt wild animals.

“What we’re doing is appealing to those who love their hunting to be careful when they’re on the roads,” Orana Local Area Command’s Acting Superintendent Scott Tanner said.

“Fatigue is playing a major role in these accidents, which are commonly occurring in fine conditions but early in the morning.

“People are heading out on their hunting trips, and when they’ve had enough they hop in their utes and drive home.

“But they’re doing so after being awake for 20-24 hours and the body just isn’t designed to do that.

“Your family will forgive you if you are late home, your boss will forgive you if you’re late for work, but the anguish that comes from these fatalities is lifelong.

“Having a can of Red Bull and thinking you can make it, or speeding up to try and get home quicker, just doesn’t work.”