Road safety has always been and will always be a prominent issue in Australia. But as unfortunate as road trauma is, there are many conscious decisions we can make to ensure our roads are safer.
In 2020, over 1,100 families bid farewell to their loved ones because of tragic road crashes. Queensland accounted for over a quarter of these deaths.
From the start of 2021 until April 26 there has been 88 fatalities resulting from crashes in Queensland. As COVID-19 travel and gathering restrictions ease, the number of road deaths in Queensland has increased by 30% from the same period last year.
With 94% of road crashes involving driver error, this increase is almost entirely attributable to risky driving behaviour. From December last year to late January this year, over 150,000 infringement notices were issued in a seven-week blitz by Queensland Police. This averages out to nearly 21,430 drivers committing some type of traffic offence per week.
Queensland Police said that speeding was the biggest offence while 2,100 drivers tested positive for drink driving and 1 out of 4 drug-driving tests returned a positive result. There was a noticeable increase in Queenslanders driving under the influence of multiple types of drugs, or with a mix of drugs and alcohol in their system, making it critical that drivers understand the impact of alcohol and drugs on their driving.
It is an uncomfortable truth that Queensland’s road fatality rate is 20% higher than the national average.
While roughly two-thirds of the Australian population live in capital cities and metropolitan areas, more than half of road fatalities occur on rural and remote roads. Compared to those living in metropolitan areas, the rate of serious road-related injuries among residents in rural areas is also nearly double.
Data analysed between 2006-2010 by CARRS estimated that at least 700 people are killed on rural roads every year and 21% of these deaths happen on Queensland roads.
Wide Bay Burnett has already seen 18 deaths in the first four months of 2021. This is the highest fatality rate in any district in Queensland and police have pinpointed speeding, drink and drug driving as the main traffic offences in this rural area.
With road deaths in Queensland continuing to rise, and police urging Queenslanders to do the right thing time and time again, the question “What needs to happen?” continues to be asked in public and political spheres alike.
The good news is – there are programs that can help.
Our Traffic Offender Intervention Program (TOIP) is a diversional program for those who have been charged with a traffic offence. TOIP takes an empathetic approach to provide up-to-date and effective content so that participants can become safer drivers when they get back on the road.
TOIP discusses the ‘Five Fatal Factors’ which are speeding, intoxication, not wearing a seatbelt or helmet, distraction and fatigue in Part A of the course, while Part B illustrates the real human consequences of motor vehicle accidents.
The aim of Road Sense Australia is always to improve road safety in Australia. We are also the only road safety charity currently providing a traffic offender program in Queensland and offer three modes of learning so that participants can choose the best mode for their needs and situation. TOIP is available via Face-to-Face, Virtual Classroom and Online Self-Paced modes of delivery.
While Face-to-Face TOIP sessions are being made available in some Queensland locations, our Virtual Classroom, which is extremely similar to the Face-to-Face, and Self-Paced Online modes are most suited for those residing in rural and remote areas. All three modes cover largely the same content and provide participants with a working understanding of road safety to make our roads safer for all users.
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