Road death rate higher in the bush, compared to city
South Burnett people more likely to die on roads than our bigger city counterparts
PEOPLE are dying on North Burnett roads at more than six times the rate of people in Brisbane.
But the RACQ believes less costly regional road upgrades could save lives just as recent improvements on the Bruce Hwy have.
The Social Atlas of Australia has revealed that between 2009 and 2013 there were three road deaths for every 100,000 Brisbane residents.
Over the same period across the North Burnett region there were 19.9 deaths for every 100,000 people.
A year-long RACQ analysis of road deaths on the Bruce Hwy found a significant drop in the number of deaths in 2015. But RACQ policy executive manager Michael Roth said a longer period was needed to confirm the trend.
“In a few years time I think we’ll be able to write up the Bruce as a good case study for how to improve these highways,” he said.
In 2015 there were 30 deaths due to crashes on the Bruce Hwy – 12.4% of all Queensland fatalities.
He said the RACQ was calling on the Federal Government to fund the Inland Queensland Road Action Plan to help the State Government and local councils prioritise and better plan road upgrades.
Mr Roth said relatively cheap upgrades such as widening median strips, clearing roadsides and installing guard rails could save lives.
“These types of upgrades aren’t million-dollar overpasses, we’re talking hundreds of thousands per kilometre,” he said.
“So you can upgrade a long stretch of road for a relatively small amount.”
A Monash University Accident Research Centre submission to a Federal Senate inquiry into road safety found death rates across regional Australia were between five and seven times higher than metropolitan rates.
“In regional and remote areas three-quarters of serious injury arises from single-vehicle run off the road crashes, usually on high-speed roads that frequently have poor roadside safety infrastructure,” the report said.
Federal Infrastructure and Roads Minister Darren Chester said the Coalition recognised the importance of improving road safety outside capital cities.
“The Australian Government is making a $50 billion investment in infrastructure to deliver new road corridors in all our major cities and vastly improve regional road networks,” he said.
“By building better roads, we can not only improve lives but we can save lives. Over and above our specific projects commitments, the Coalition is also delivering programs which improve the safety of local roads.
“The Coalition changed the criteria of this program to ensure that at least 50% of funding is dedicated to fixing sites in regional Australia, where more than 56% of road deaths and a significant proportion of hospitalised injuries occur.”
Labor did not respond to questions regarding its road safety policies.
RACQ executive manager of public policy Michael Roth.