THE Pacific Highway fell quiet Tuesday night as another life was taken too soon on our roads.

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Whether the width of the road is to blame, wet conditions or driver error seems irrelevant when you round the corner to the scene; what was just a dim glow in the distance now a mess of twisted metal, debris and lives upended.

And through the silence of a five kilometre walk back to my car down the dark road, one of the last words I heard there were that of duty officer Inspector Joanne Reid.

"The scene is traumatic for all involved," she said. And while the effects on those directly involved are inconceivable, walking towards the scene the silence is broken by the voices of familiar people.

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Emergency services officers, community members, business owners, friendly faces out in the night away from their families assisting in rescue efforts. Some are paid, most are volunteers, but the vision they see before them is rarely one to recount.


They do their duty - all the while recalling hours of training they perform so they are prepared for the worst of circumstances. Phone calls to relatives with the worst of news, cutting open mangled wrecks, helping people who would hope never to have to be helped. They all return to their regular life the following morning, but I wonder if in the moments of silence, the imagery before them wears them down.

We are lucky they shoulder the burden for us.

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