Road safety – not just an Easter gift

This Easter no-one lost their lives on Queensland roads.  This is a dramatic turnaround and is eight fatalities fewer than the previous year, and the lowest since accurate Easter* reporting began 30 years ago.

This is very promising news, and follows extensive efforts with our communities to promote safe people, driving safe cars, at safe speeds, on safe roads.  We are particularly grateful to our colleagues in the Queensland Police Service for their high visibility enforcement efforts which have no doubt saved lives over this holiday season.

However, we need to remember that the road toll in not just about fatalities and figures.  People are now in hospital with serious injuries as a result of crashes over the weekend.  Lives changed in an instant, affecting families and friends, as well as the individuals themselves.

Over the next month our new campaign, Let’s change the way we look at speed, focuses on the risks of low-level speeding (0-10km/h over the speed limit). Around half of all speed-related crashes which result in injuries or fatalities happen at just 10km/h or less above the speed limit.

The campaign is part of a long-term strategy to discourage and stigmatise speeding, much in the same way drink driving has become socially unacceptable over the years.Please take a moment to check it out.

Many families are still planning trips away over the school holidays, so the roads will continue to be busy.  There are a few simple steps we can all take for a safe journey.

  • Slow down and drive to the conditions.
  • If you are facing a long drive, get a good night’s sleep before you head off and make sure to factor in regular rest breaks.  Fatigue is known as the silent killer because people simple don’t notice tiredness creeping up on them.
  • If you can’t bear to turn your phone off, give it to a passenger to monitor and pull over to a safe place to check Facebook. Texting and driving is like driving blind!
  • Make sure everyone is buckled up and the kids are in the appropriate child restraints.
  • Avoid alcohol altogether if you’re driving.  Why not take turns being the dry driver?
  • Be patient and courteous, everyone wants to arrive safely.

I urge you to think about safety every time you get in the car, not just at Easter and Christmas when the news is filled with road safety messages.

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*Reporting period Thursday 24 March to Monday 28 March 2016

Mike Stapleton
Deputy Director General, Customer Services, Safety and Regulation
Department of Transport and Main Roads