90% of Australian households currently have a car. In fact, there are more than 20 million registered vehicles on our roads. While it is clear transport is a major component of our economy for personal and business use, thousands are impacted each year by transport-related injuries. In Queensland, Motor Vehicle Accidents pose a significant problem with statistics showing that they are one of the leading causes of injury and death. 2021 saw 277 fatalities, an 11.6% increase to the previous five-year average. As of November 2022, 249 fatalities occurred on the road, a higher toll than in 2021 and the 5-year average.
What is causing the high numbers?
Speeding, distracted driving and fatigued driving are the leading causes of fatalities on our roads. Drivers are breaking the law and failing to focus on their driving, whether by exceeding the speed limit, using their smartphones, eating or putting on makeup while driving, or operating a vehicle while not sufficiently rested. Other common causes of motor vehicle accidents include poor road conditions, mechanical failure, and weather-related incidents.
According to 2022 Queensland Road Fatality Report males between the ages of 17 and 25 make up the highest percentage of fatalities in Queensland, accounting for around 28% of all motor vehicle accidents in the state. In comparison, females in the same age group make up only 17% of motor vehicle accidents.
18 to 24-year-olds are also twice as likely to receive a speeding ticket. Even though speeding is the leading cause of death on our roads, 25% of Australians said last year that they would like to see speed limits raised. At least once a week, 20% of Australians admit to driving tired. Several factors contribute to fatigued driving, including a lack of quality sleep, long periods of driving, and/or overworked schedules.
How to stay safe on the road.
Avoid common road accidents and use these tips to stay safe:
- Do not forget the basics; obey the speed limit, stop at red lights and stop signs, use your turn signals, yield the right of way, and wear seatbelts correctly
- Drive the right speed for the weather and road conditions
- Leave three to four seconds distance between you and the car in front of you to reduce the risk of a rear-end collision
- DO NOT use your mobile while driving – if you’re tempted keep your phone out of reach!
- Stay alert and keep calm behind the wheel
- Avoid common distractions such as eating/drinking, reading navigations, applying makeup/styling hair, and smoking/vaping
- Take frequent breaks on extended drives
- If you are tired, avoid driving.
- Undergo formal driving training