Sergeant Jarrod French of Coffs Clarence Highway patrol directs drivers in for Random Breath Testing at Ulmarra.
Sergeant Jarrod French of Coffs Clarence Highway patrol directs drivers in for Random Breath Testing at Ulmarra. Adam Hourigan Photography

ULMARRA: Online feuds debunked

ONCE again keyboard warriors have shared their opinions about an issue they, quite frankly, know very little about.

Yesterday afternoon, The Daily Examiner published another story about truck drivers caught on CCTV harassing Ulmarra residents. As a result, social media pages were once again flooded with debate about who was to blame.

We've compiled the top arguments being used in this ongoing debate (and the real facts behind them).

THIS HARASSMENT ALL STARTED WHEN ONE RESIDENT INSTALLED LIGHTS TO BLIND TRUCK DRIVERS

Actually, no. Select truck drivers have been harassing one family in particular since the Let's Not Wait campaign began in January 2018. The lights were installed in May 2018. We even wrote a story about truckie harassment prior to the lights.

Residents have stated the bullying behaviour began shortly after their television appearance on Sunrise which has included threats over CB radio and intentionally sounding their horns at night.

IF YOU LIVE ON THE HIGHWAY, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT? 

Residents accept the normal noise associated with living beside a major highway, not a motorist intentionally and repeatedly sounding their horn at all hours of the night. There is a difference.

MAJOR UPDATE IN LATEST CCTV FOOTAGE

WHY DON'T YOU JUST MOVE IF YOU'RE BOTHERED BY IT?

There are three aspects to this argument that few keyboard warriors are aware of:

  1. You're asking people who are living in a home that has been passed down several generations (and prior to it being a major thoroughfare), to give up a significant piece of their family history. Furthermore, some will find their property has been devalued due to the high number of collisions, thereby making it difficult to purchase another home elsewhere.
     
  2. You're asking people to either put up with or enable the behaviour of drivers breaking the law by speeding and/or intentionally making excessive noise in the middle of the night by moving away. This behaviour could easily occur on anyone's street.
     
  3. That still doesn't solve the problem of vehicles speeding through Ulmarra or suffering fatigue which, in turn, causes a collision. After all, that's the whole point of residents speaking up. For instance, one household has experienced three trucks crashing onto their property with the latest coming within metres of their sleeping children. Another family were lucky to not be in their lounge room when a truck crashed through it.  A young family watched two cars collide with one another and burst into flames out the front of their home, followed by a truck crashing in the same spot a few weeks later. Let's also not forget one older couple who were forced to live in a caravan while their whole house was rewired when a truck ripped out the electricity wires following a crash.

THIS IS ALL PROPAGANDA TO MAKE TRUCK DRIVERS THE BULLIES

Not exactly. The original Let's Not Wait campaign, which kicked off this whole muddled debate, has been entirely focussed on a 'blackspot' area of Ulmarra. This spot, which contains a very tight bend on the southern end of Ulmarra has caused a high volume of vehicles to crash for the past two decades. Unfortunately, most have been at night and most have been trucks.

Residents were tired of having to rescue drivers from wrecks and called on authorities to improve road safety in the area.

Their suggestions included:

  • A fixed speed camera to slow people down, preferably near the black spot 
  • Rumble strips to wake tired drivers
  • Safety barriers as a last resort for future collisions
  • Extend the 50k/hr zones on either end of Ulmarra


Prior to and throughout the campaign, Ulmarra residents have never blamed truck drivers for these collisions.

As a few online posters have pointed out, there are two sides to every story. However, as has been pointed out in the past, the fight to label each side either victim or villain, and cherry picking of semantics won't solve this decades-long problem, but simply override the main concern for road safety.


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