Motorists hitting the road ahead of the school holidays are being urged to drive with caution amidst a horror first half of the year on Queensland roads.
Highways across the state are expected to be a lot busier over the next two weeks as thousands of holidaymakers set off for a break.
The current state death toll is already at a staggering 147 people – which is 17 higher than it was at this time last year.
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Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey says we face a spike in dangerous driving behaviours at times like this when there are more people on the roads racing to be with family or friends.
“Queensland’s road toll is the worst we’ve seen in a decade, and sadly the behaviours which contribute to the number of lives lost and serious injuries on our roads are all avoidable,” Mr Bailey says.
“Speeding, running red lights and failing to wear seatbelts are all major contributors to our road toll.”
On Wednesday alone, southeast Queensland faced one of its most tragic days, with three people killed on the road.
Lachlan Parker from Queensland Ambulance says the last few weeks have been “absolutely devastating” with several fatalities.
“No Queensland Service paramedic or first responder should have to encounter the scenes that we’re seeing and no one, no love member or family member at home should receive a call from the police letting them know that one of their family members has passed away,” Mr Parker says.
“So what I’m asking everyone to do, especially at this time with the school holidays, is to drive the conditions and make sure you’re wearing your seatbelt.
“You don’t want to be the next statistic.”
From July 1, high-risk offences will incur significantly higher penalty increases that will hit drivers where it hurts – their wallet.
Running a red light will incur a $575 fine and drivers will continue to receive three demerit points, while penalties for speeding will also rise.
High range speeding will cost offenders up to a massive $1,653 and eight demerit points.
If you’re caught not wearing a seatbelt, or not wearing one properly, offenders will be slogged $1078 – up from the current $413.