The elderly driver of this small sedan died last September when he pulled out from Teven Road into the path of a bus travelling on the Pacific Highway at West Ballina. It is thought many drivers on the highway are being diverted into Teven Road by GPS units using it as a shortcut to give the shortest route through Ballina.
The elderly driver of this small sedan died last September when he pulled out from Teven Road into the path of a bus travelling on the Pacific Highway at West Ballina. It is thought many drivers on the highway are being diverted into Teven Road by GPS units using it as a shortcut to give the shortest route through Ballina. Doug Eaton

GPS to have blackspot mapped out

A PACIFIC Highway blackspot at West Ballina will be addressed in the next release of Whereis maps, the largest supplier of digital data to vehicle GPS units.

The change is a direct result of a story published in The Northern Star on January 6, according to Sensis spokeswoman Danielle Horan.

Whereis is a brand belonging to Sensis, which is in turn owned by Telstra.

“I am pleased to advise that since the publication of the article, a turn restriction has been added to the latest version of Whereis data at the intersection of the Pacific Highway and Teven Road,” she wrote in an email.

“This change has been made to reflect new RTA signage in the area and comes on the back of feedback Whereis received from the Ballina Shire Council.”

The Teven Road turn-off at West Ballina has been a source of driver confusion, possibly leading to the death of an elderly man last September when his vehicle pulled out on to the highway in front of a bus.

As a result Ballina SES controller Gerry Burnage had called for the situation to be addressed by map companies supplying data to mobile GPS units.

The SES discovered what residents along Teven Road long suspected – vehicle GPS units were directing traffic on to the Teven Road shortcut in a bid to shave five minutes’ travel time by avoiding the town of Ballina.

The real danger is for traffic heading south along the shortcut because vehicles tend to cross a lane of highway traffic at the West Ballina intersection in order to continue their journey, rather than turn left and head into town to make a U-turn at the Big Prawn roundabout.

Since the September accident the RTA installed a ‘no right turn’ sign at the intersection, which remains in force from 7am to 7pm daily, and extends the 60km/h zone to include the intersection.

But motorists have continued to ignore the signs, choosing in many cases to trust their GPS units’ advice rather than the RTA sign.

Whereis supplies data to TomTom, Garmin and Uni-den GPS units.

 



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