Minister addresses state’s addiction to speed

 

WHETHER it's 5km/h over or 50km/h over the limit, the evidence is crystal clear.

In 2018, one in every five deaths on our roads was caused solely by speed. It was also a contributing factor in many more crashes.

Per year, about 58 people are killed and 295 seriously injured as a result of speed-related crashes.

Last week, another nine people tragically lost their lives on Queensland roads. Not one of those who died expected their lives to end that day.

Research by the Australian Transport Council shows even travelling 5km/h over the speed limit is enough to double the risk of a casualty crash.

That's the only truth that matters when it comes to judging the value of speed cameras or other road safety measures.

Unfortunately, despite the evidence, the focus of some remains on the revenue generated from speed cameras nailing dangerous drivers.

It doesn't seem to matter to some that every fine issued is to a person who is breaking the law and putting lives at risk.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey makes no apologies for punishing reckless drivers. Picture: AAP Image/Jono Searle
Transport Minister Mark Bailey makes no apologies for punishing reckless drivers. Picture: AAP Image/Jono Searle

It doesn't seem to matter that, by law, every cent earned from camera detected offences is reinvested back into road safety upgrades and campaigns.

Speed cameras were introduced in the late '90s. At that time, the annual rate of fatalities on our roads was 11.16 per 100,000 Queenslanders.

Almost two decades on and that number has more than halved to 4.89, the lowest it's ever been since we started recording these statistics half a century ago.

Monash University Accident Research Centre published results in 2018 where it estimated that our Camera Detected Offence Program was associated with an overall reduction of 2500 casualty crashes during 2016.

More mornings than not I read the summary from frontline agencies about a tragedy or tragedies on our roads. Every death leaves families and communities forever shattered and changed by an often preventable moment of devastation.

At these crash sites, our police, paramedics and firies all too often witness things no one should ever have to see.

I'm not going to apologise for punishing offenders. Fines only hurt when you do the wrong thing and the evidence shows they do change dangerous driver behaviour.

Those who endanger other people's lives deserve penalising for recklessly putting other lives at risk.

That is why I am also determined to tackle another scourge on our roads - the use of mobile phones while driving. I've previously flagged the possibility of $1000 fines for distracted driving and the loss of license for a second offence.

Last week, I looked at new world-leading high tech camera systems being introduced in NSWk that detect accurately a high proportion of distracted drivers using mobile phones. I have every intention of bringing those cameras to Queensland and I have every intention of putting harsher fines in place to save lives on our roads.

Enough is enough. We need to look after ourselves and each other when we get on the roads.

The Palaszczuk Government has boosted its road safety spend by $205 million in this year's budget, but as frontline staff keep telling me, it's on drivers to make sure they play their role too.

I want drivers to do the right thing and not get fined.

When you get behind the wheel with your family or friends please, slow down and stick to the limit. Put your phone away. Wear your seatbelt. Don't drive fatigued. And don't drive with drink or drugs in your system.

Let's all be an important part of road safety every time we drive.

  • Mark Bailey is the Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads