Road safety warning for drivers

What is causing the rise in Queensland's road toll?

Queensland is on track for an alarming spike in road deaths for 2021.

In the first six months of the year*, 135 people were killed on Queensland roads – a 12.5% increase on the same period in 2020 and 13.8% above the five-year average from 2016.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said breaking down road safety to statistics failed to portray the tragic stories and human cost they represented.   

“The numbers don’t capture the impacts on victims’ families, friends, communities and first responders who continue to bear the lifelong pain and trauma of losing a loved one,” Mr Bailey said. 

“The number of lives lost on Queensland roads show the conversation about how we drive and the choices we make on the road should never stop.”

The message from transport authorities and police is for drivers to avoid the risky behaviours, known as the “Fatal Five” – speeding, drink or drug driving, failure to wear a seatbelt, driving while fatigued, and driver distraction.

Failure to follow these basic behaviours has been identified as being the cause of many road crashes causing death.

“Many factors contribute to road trauma and data from across the past year indicates there has been an increase in drivers speeding and not wearing seatbelts,” Mr Bailey said.

“Unfortunately, young drivers continue to be over-represented in crashes, with nearly one-third of fatal crashes this year involving young adult drivers or riders aged 16-24. 

“Senior drivers aged 60 or more also make up another quarter of the lives lost this year. 

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“Alarmingly, 37 motorcycle riders have been killed, making up almost a quarter of fatal crashes. 

“This is 10 more than the same time last year, and 11 more than the previous five-year average.”

RACQ Manager Road Safety and Technical Joel Tucker urged road users to always behave responsibly when on the road. 

“As motorists and road users we can all contribute to road safety on a daily basis by doing things by the book,” Mr Tucker said.

“We all need to work as a team to make the roads as safe as possible – we need to play our role by sticking to the road rules.”

Mr Tucker said risky behaviour on the road must be avoided.

“Whatever the reason behind peoples’ choice to take risks on the road, it’s not good enough,” he said.

“We can’t afford errors and we need to work hard to stay on our `A-game’ behind the wheel, as a pedestrian, as a cyclist or when we get on a motorcycle.

“We aren’t just talking about the really high-risk behaviours like texting while driving, driving or riding at high speed or getting behind the wheel after drinking.

“We are talking about all of it – things like using your indicators, stopping at every stop sign, keeping left unless overtaking.  It all contributes to safer roads.”

* Source: Queensland Weekly Road Crash Report to 4 July 2021.