ONE hundred and sixty-six people have been killed in accidents on Queensland roads already this year.
That’s 14 more lives than this time last year.
The shocking statistic comes just days before Queensland launches its ‘Road Safety Week’ campaign – Australia’s only statewide road safety initiative.
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It has triggered a stern warning from the state’s Transport and Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey, who on Thursday pleaded with motorists to consider the risks of unsafe driving.
Last year, 247 people were killed and 6450 people were hospitalised – many with life-altering injuries.
Mr Bailey said the fatal five – distraction, drink driving, fatigue, speeding and not wearing a seatbelt – contributed to more than half of those deaths.
According to RACQ’s latest research, 72.8 percent of drivers confessed to speeding.
“These, more than any other road deaths, are preventable and unnecessary,” the minister said.
“It is a devastating fact that road trauma has become one of the biggest public health issues facing our community.
“We are preparing for our fourth annual Queensland Road Safety Week next week, but driving safely is a year-round responsibility for all motorists.”
Over the past five years, young adults have accounted for 22 per cent of drivers involved in serious crashes, despite only making up 14 per cent of licence holders.
Mr Bailey said road rules were in place for a reason and added those who break them are not only flouting the law but also endangering the lives of innocent people.
“We all need to take responsibility for our behaviour on the roads and one simple way to reduce trauma is to start by following the road rules,” he said.
“Imagine how much safer it would be if everyone obeyed the speed limit, didn’t race through orange or red traffic lights and put their phones out of reach.
“We urge motorists not to take unnecessary risk with their life and the lives of others.
“This is entirely achievable, but up to each individual to do the right thing.”
Mr Bailey said events were happening across the state during Queensland Road Safety Week, including regional expos, roadside awareness programs, truckie toolbox talks and school/community events.
“The week is about coming together as a community to focus on safety for every road user – pedestrians, motorists, heavy vehicle drivers, bike riders and motorcyclists,” Mr Bailey said.
Minister for Police and Corrective Services Mark Ryan said the key to making Queensland roads safer was educating the public and ensuring young Queenslanders were learning good driving habits.
“Unfortunately, too many Queenslanders know the pain of losing a family member or friend to road trauma, so I am delighted to see the unified response to the challenge of promoting road safety,” Mr Ryan said.
“I would also like to recognise all those police, fire and ambulance officers who respond to crashes daily.
“In doing their jobs, they are confronted with road trauma and its aftermath and they are to be commended for their professionalism and compassion.”
For more information on Road Safety Week and how to get involved, click here.