Mark Whittaker's police motorcycle prior to last week's accident.
Mark Whittaker's police motorcycle prior to last week's accident. Matt Deans

Top traffic cop visits injured officer hit by car

THE state's top traffic cop has visited injured highway patrolman Mark Whittaker as he recovers after being hit by a car during a traffic stop on the Coffs Coast.

Senior Constable Mark Whittaker was struck by a vehicle during a routine stop on the Pacific Highway, about 20km south of Nambucca Heads on December 30.

Alarming road toll: There have been 12 fatalities in eight days, with all but one crash in regional NSW.

The motorcycle officer had just pulled over a black Subaru hatchback when he was struck by a Mazda sedan.

He suffered a broken leg, while the female driver of that vehicle, a Queensland woman was treated for shock.

 

Police roadside breath testing08 JAN 2019
Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy meets with highway patrol officers in Coffs Harbour today. TREVOR VEALE

Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy met with Senior Constable Whittaker in Coffs Harbour on Monday.

"He is in very good spirits he has got a pretty bad break of his leg and those who saw the vision on the TV will realise how lucky he was," Commissioner Corboy said today.

"Mark is a keen and excellent highway patrol officer and my wish is the same as his to get him back at work and back on the bike as soon as possible."

Following the accident, questions have been asked whether new laws in New South Wales that require motorists to slow to 40kmh when passing stationary emergency service vehicles were a factor in the crash.

The accident which happened on a 110kmh section of the highway is still under investigation.

 

Police roadside breath testingnsw BMW police car08 JAN 2019
The new law requires motorists to slow to 40kmh when passing a stationary emergency services vehicle. TREVOR VEALE

In the instance of the Pacific Highway the law sees drivers slow by almost 70kmh when passing an emergency services vehicle in a 110kmh section, and the law only applies in NSW, making interstate drivers unaware of the need to lower their speeds when they pass emergency vehicles.

"As the Roads Minister has already indicated (the law change) is one avenue of investigation that we are looking at," Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.

"The idea of the slow down law to 40km was to make it safer for our officers, ambos and our fireys.

"We will be reviewing that law talking to the various unions and talking to the various emergency services.

 

Police roadside breath testing08 JAN 2019
Police conduct breath tests on Hogbin Dr today. TREVOR VEALE

"The safety of our officers is the most important thing," he added.

Assistant Commissioner Corboy said NSW roads had been safer over the Christmas period however police were alarmed that there had been 12 fatalities to start the New Year, with majority happening in regional areas.

"Out of those 12 deaths there have been five drivers killed, but alarmingly out of those crashes there have also been six passengers killed and that's disturbing."

NSW police speed gun, radar.Snr. Const  Mark Whittaker. 07 October 2016
Senior Constable Mark Whittaker who was struck by a vehicle while making a traffic stop on his motorcycle on the Pacific Highway. Trevor Veale