The Queensland Government is committed to getting the state’s annual fatality road toll down to less than 200, but is it possible and what are the main factors causing deaths on Queensland roads to remain so high?
Trend shows decline over time
Despite the fact that there are more vehicles on the state’s roads than ever, the overall trend in fatalities is not as bad as might be thought. In 1974, the fatality rate was a shocking 32.14 deaths per 100,000 people living in the state. That rate had declined to 4.72 per 100,000 in 2015. But there were still 242 deaths in that year, which by anyone’s reckoning was 242 too many.
Road deaths increase in North Queensland
The largest increase in recent years has been in the far North, with an increase of 18% in rural roads around places like Mareeba, Cooktown and Mount Mulligan. Despite the overall trend, other locations where an increase in road deaths as reported by the state’s Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mike Keating, were around Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Keating said that fatalities on the state’s roads could not be ascribed to road conditions but were due to the way people, especially young people, were driving.
Motorcycle fatalities far too high in Queensland
One of the more revealing statistics that has been reported is that a full quarter of the road toll involves motorcyclists. That’s despite the fact that only 4% or less of the state’s nearly 5 million registered vehicles are motorcycles. Fatalities involving motorcyclists include riders, pillion passengers and other people such as pedestrians or cyclists who were actually struck by a motorcyclist. There were 54 deaths involving motorcycles in 2015.
The state government is making it more difficult for motorcycle riders to get full licenses. The theory is that riders need longer at each stage of the license issuing process before they can realistically handle more powerful machines.
This might seem as if it is targeting the victims of motorcycle accidents rather than other road users whose poor driving is the cause, but it is a recognition that too many of the motorcycle fatalities are not necessarily caused by other vehicles and involve a single rider and his or her machine.
Focus on drugs
According to Queensland Police, a quarter of all drivers who are stopped by police and tested for drug use have tested positive for drugs. Cannabis remains the most frequently used drug tested but ice (metamphetamine) has also shown a small increase. The number of police who are trained sufficiently to test for drugs has apparently increased, which may mean that the drug test results indicate the increase in testing efficiency rather than a real increase in drug use.
Road toll target below 200 by 2020
The state government seems determined to keep the road toll trending downwards and has indicated a target of 200 or less by 2020. Road Safety Minister, Mark Bailey, says that the government wants the road toll driven down as quickly as possible. It has allocated $500 million to achieve the target. Spome of the measures being used include:
- targeting the highest risk fatality locations around the state;
- initiating a social media campaign which focuses on young drivers;
- extra sets of flashing lights in and around school zones;
- better separation zones between existing highway lanes on major roads;
- changes to the way motorcycle licenses are issued as mentioned above.
Have you been a victim of poor driving?
As Queensland’s Assistant Commissioner of Police has stated, accidents n the roads are not due to road conditions as much as due to the way people drive. By far the most serious accidents happen because road users drive too fast, are intoxicated or affected by drugs, allow themselves to be distracted, ignore road signs, drive too close to the vehicle in front or the 2 wheeled road user they are passing, just to mention the most common reasons for a road accident all over Australia.
If you have been seriously injured in a vehicle accident that was due to another road user’s negligence, you have the option of suing them. It is best to talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident as witness reliability, evidence and memories fade quickly with time.
Talk to one of our experienced no win no fee car accident lawyers at the Compensation Lawyers in Brisbane at 18/333 Ann St, Brisbane City QLD 4000. Call 1300 019 637 for any of our three offices in Australia.