Police have issued a stern warning to Queenslanders planning on heading out for the first time in a long time this weekend, as coronavirus travel restrictions are relaxed across the state.
Those doing the wrong thing like speeding, drink-driving and failing to social distance are being told they will be caught and face the consequences, with police increasing their patrols and speed detections on the roads, on the water and in popular parks.
The warning comes following the release of confronting new data today, which shows more lives have been lost on Queensland roads so far this year compared to 2019.
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That’s despite traffic on major highways being down more than 30 per cent due to the pandemic and people being told to stay at home.
In total, 68 lives have already been lost on the roads this year, eight more than the same period last year.
Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Mike Keating said shockingly, there has been a massive rise in the number of speeding motorists, which he has put down to people taking advantage of police being distracted by COVID-19.
“It is very concerning how often our officers and speed camera systems are detecting exceptionally high speeds,” Assistant Commissioner Keating said.
“The risks of speeding have not changed and the faster you go, the more consequence there is if you hit something or someone else.”
According to authorities, the May long weekend is normally really busy on the roads with a spike in crashes and congestion, and it’s expected to be even worst this year as thousands of people finally head outdoors.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey is now pleading for locals to put 100 per cent of their focus on the road.
“We’ve made huge progress in flattening the curve, which is why some restrictions will be lifted, but we can’t afford to see that translate into deaths on our roads,” Mr Bailey said.
“From Saturday, Queenslanders will be able travel up to 50km from home for recreational purposes… let’s make every kilometre on that trip and every other trip into the future a safe one.”
He’s urged people to still limit the amount of travel they do, and encouraged locals to stick to doing things like boating close by instead of driving long distances.
“Drivers need to understand that roads are going to be much busier and the police are going to be out in force. Take it easy and enjoy a little freedom while staying safe.”
This weekend’s police crackdown is expected to focus on the fatal five, which are speed, fatigue, seat belt use, driver distraction, and drink and drug driving.
“Eighty per cent of fatalities on our roads are because of these risky choices, and all are preventable,” Police Minister Mark Ryan said
“Unfortunately, police on the ground are reporting more people speeding while crash reports are showing that people aren’t wearing seatbelts.
“I know there’s a lot on people’s minds at the moment, but when you hop in the car give driving your full attention.”