RACQ welcomes doctors’ calls for road toll action

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has called for swift action to slow the soaring road toll, demanding provisional drivers caught using mobiles while behind the wheel be suspended for a year.

The proposed changes would also force professional drivers such as couriers and taxi drivers to keep anti-fatigue log-books, bringing them into line with the drivers of heavy vehicles.

It’s the first time in the AMA’s 55-year history it has taken an official position on road safety, but AMA president Dr Michael Gannon said it was needed, with medical workers often the ones left to deal with the carnage on our roads.

“They see when road safety is ignored and when avoidable accidents occur – accidents that take lives and cause horrific injuries,” Dr Gannon said.

“Mobile phones and other devices are driver distractions and a major cause of accidents, trauma and death.

“Good habits must be ingrained in new, inexperienced drivers. Your driver licence is a privilege, not a right – drivers who breach the road rules are putting themselves and others at risk, and must face meaningful sanctions.”

On average, three people die on Australian roads every day and 90 others are seriously injured.

RACQ’s Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said it was positive to see doctors supported strong action on the issue.

“It’s great to see the AMA taking a wide-ranging and well-considered approach to road safety,” Mr Spalding said.

Fatigue alone accounted for more than 13 percent of deaths on our roads in 2016 – any action to reduce that number is a step in the right direction.

“It’s important we’re having this conversation now, road trauma touches so many lives and causes irreversible pain and suffering to thousands of families every year.”