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Two men killed in horror head-on Augusta Highway in the Mid North

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One of the trucks involved in the double fatality. Picture: Phil Williams

One of the trucks involved in the double fatality.

Two men have died in a fiery head-on truck crash in South Australia’s Mid North – just one hour into the Easter long weekend.

The double tragedy came only a day after SA Police in partnership with The Advertiser launched an urgent campaign aimed at curbing the state’s spiralling 2019 road toll.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH - Read below: National dual lanes ‘only way’ to stop carnage

One of the trucks burst into flames from the force of the collision, which happened on Augusta Highway at Miranda, about 20km south of Port Augusta, just after 1am on Friday.

Both drivers – a 31-year-old man from the Port Augusta area and a 35-year-old man from Campbelltown – died at the scene.

Traffic Support Branch officer-in-charge Superintendent Bob Gray said emergency services were met with an “absolutely devastating and horrific scene” when they arrived.

“One of the trucks and one of the occupants was incinerated at the scene,” he said.

Supt Gray said one of the trucks veered on to the wrong side of the road and police were looking into whether fatigue played a part in the fatal head-on collision.

He said the crash was devastating for police, other emergency services, and the state of South Australia, as well as for those who knew the drivers.

“Just think about it,” he said. “On Friday morning, two families were devastated when police knocked on their doors in the early hours of the morning to tell them that their loved ones wouldn’t be coming home this Easter,

“Enough is enough. When are people going to understand the (road safety) messaging?

“People just aren’t listening. It’s just not getting through.

“Don’t be complacent because this can happen to you.”

Supt Gray urged people to take extra care on the roads this Easter.

“The evidence tells us over Easter the highest risk is on our regional roads but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be vigilant within the metropolitan area,” he said.

“Major Crash investigators do not want to spend their Easter going to these types of scenes, nor do other emergency services.”

Supt Gray said the crash was preventable and police were frustrated that motorists were not taking road safety seriously. The Augusta Highway was closed and motorists were detoured for several hours. The highway reopened about 4pm.

The death of the two men takes the state’s road toll to 38, compared with 22 at the same time last year. On Thursday, The Advertiser, in partnership with SA Police, launched Enough is Enough – a campaign to help reduce road deaths and serious injuries this year. The campaign aims to draw a line in the sand and highlight the human cost of serious and fatal road crashes.

Of the 38 deaths so far this year, 24 have been on rural roads and 14 in the metropolitan area. Four truck drivers have now been killed.

SA Road Transport Association executive director Steve Shearer said the double fatality should prompt much-needed action on road safety.

“If on our national highways we had fully separated carriageways, not adjoining ones with a double white line, then a head-on such as this would not be possible,” Mr Shearer told The Advertiser.

“We don’t know the circumstances of this incident so we will have to wait and see.

“But if it was just the two truck drivers involved then one or both of them have made a bad mistake,”

“It is far better to save lives rather than just a few minutes.

“There is no point rushing or taking unnecessary risks; take a few minutes more and it might save your life.”

Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to contact Crime Stoppers South Australia on 1800 333 000, or report on line at www.crimestopperssa.com.au.

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