This miner was just too tired
A LOT of drivers on the Peak Downs Highway late on a Saturday afternoon thought Wade Kathage was a drink-driver putting lives at risk.
But he wasn't drunk. He was dangerously fatigued after a long working week.
Fellow drivers were so concerned about his manner of driving that they made emergency calls to police and used two-way radios to warn other motorists.
Three lots of calls were made to police as Kathage drove over 90km from Nebo to Mackay.
At the time he was working as a mining engineer at three mines, doing 80 hours a week, and driving 1000km to 2000km a week.
“Cemeteries are full of people who have been put there by fatigued drivers,” Magistrate Athol Kennedy said yesterday when Kathage faced the Mackay Magistrates Court.
“Fatigue affects us all. It has a similar effect as alcohol. There are a lot of people attached to the mines who die on the roads.
“I hear some of the mining companies are doing something about it.
“But individuals like you also have to do something about it.”
Kathage, 45, is based in Newcastle and lives five days a week in Mackay, working at the mines.
He pleaded guilty yesterday to driving without due consideration for other road users on the Peak Downs Highway on May 23.
Police received their first call at 4.46.pm when Kathage was between South Walker Creek and Nebo. Witnesses said he was swerving on to the wrong side of the highway and on-coming traffic had to avoid him.
There was another call at 4.53pm from another driver as Kathage was going down the Eton Range.
Kathage was fined $1200 and no action was taken against his driver's licence.