Frontline authorities are pleading with Queenslanders to drive safely this long weekend as coronavirus travel restrictions ease.
Worrying data shows more lives have been lost on the state’s road so far this year compared to 2019, despite traffic on Queensland’s major highways being down more than 30 per cent.
In total, 68 lives have been lost in 2020 to-date, eight more than the same period last year.
To combat the increasing number of deaths on the state’s roads, police will increase speed detection activities including the use of random speed cameras and proactive patrols.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said with many Queenslanders expected to hop in the car for the first time in a while, it was critical that drivers remember to put 100 per cent of their focus on the road.
“We’ve made huge progress in flattening the curve, which is why some restrictions will be lifted, but we can’t afford to see that translate into deaths on our roads,” Mr Bailey said.
“From Saturday, Queenslanders will be able travel up to 50km from home for recreational purposes – let’s make every kilometre on that trip and every other trip into the future a safe one.
Police Minister Mark Ryan said police emphasis would be on the fatal five: speed, fatigue, seat belt use, driver distraction, and drink/drug driving.
“Eighty per cent of fatalities on our roads are because of these risky choices, and all are preventable,” Mr Ryan said.
“Unfortunately, police on the ground are reporting more people speeding while crash reports are showing that people aren’t wearing seatbelts.
“I know there’s a lot on people’s minds at the moment, but when you hop in the car give driving your full attention.”
Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Mike Keating said there had been a sharp rise in the rate of speeding motorists on Queensland roads.
“Despite a 30 per cent reduction of vehicles on Queensland roads, we are seeing a significant increase in the proportion of speeding drivers,” Assistant Commissioner Keating said.
“It is very concerning how often our officers and speed camera systems are detecting exceptionally high speeds.
“The risks of speeding have not changed and the faster you go, the more consequence there is if you hit something or someone else,” Assistant Commissioner Keating said.
RACQ spokesperson Paul Turner said the May long weekend is traditionally very busy on Queensland’s major roads and we often see a spike in crashes and congestion.
“While overall less people will be moving around the state due to travel restrictions we ask people play by the rules,” Mr Turner said
“On-road enforcement and speed cameras are effective in improving road safety.
“It’s good people are able to get out more but let’s all remember a recreational drive or outing shouldn’t become a joyride.
“Drivers need to understand that roads are going to be much busier and the police are going to be out in force. Take it easy and enjoy a little freedom while staying safe.
“Don’t drink and drive, don’t speed and avoid the fatal five. Crashes don’t just happen on long road trips.”
For more information visit streetsmarts.initiatives.qld.gov.au
Minister for Transport and Main Roads
The Honourable Mark Bailey
Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services
The Honourable Mark Ryan