Driver er­ror takes ris­ing toll on lives

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Clau­dia Alp clau­dia.alp@whit­sun­day­times.com.au

❝show Sta­tis­tics that about 90 per cent of crashes are due to a driver er­ror. — Owen Mait­land

THE dev­as­tat­ing loss of four lives in a 24-hour pe­riod on Whit­sun­day roads last week has high­lighted a 36 per cent in­crease in car crash in­juries in­volv­ing CQ Res­cue op­er­a­tions since this time last year.

RACQ CQ Res­cue said Mackay res­cue he­li­copter mis­sions so far this year, trans­fer­ring pa­tients due to in­juries suf­fered as a re­sult of traf­fic ac­ci­dents, had topped 30, eight higher than for the same pe­riod last year.

Base man­ager and pi­lot Owen Mait­land said the num­ber of crashes they at­tended and air­lifted pa­tients from had in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly this year, with many pa­tients sus­tain­ing crit­i­cal in­juries in­clud­ing frac­tures, lac­er­a­tions and even spinal and in­ter­nal in­juries.

“Sta­tis­tics show that about 90 per cent of crashes are due to a driver er­ror, such as be­ing dis­tracted, fa­tigued or even go­ing a lit­tle over the speed limit,” Mr Mait­land said.

In the first four months of the year, RACQ CQ Res­cue air­lifted 15 in­jured pa­tients, with some in­juries oc­cur­ring due to mo­men­tary lapses in judge­ment or at­ten­tion.

Mr Mait­land said death as a re­sult of a crash was not un­com­mon, par­tic­u­larly at high speeds on high­ways.

“Some­thing as sim­ple as not leav­ing the rec­om­mended safe fol­low­ing dis­tance could change your life, or that of an­other per­son’s, com­pletely,” he said.

“Fa­tigue is an­other avoid­able fac­tor.”

RACQ CQ Res­cue is call­ing on mo­torists to take ur­gent ac­tion to end the ris­ing death and in­jury toll fol­low­ing the tragic Bruce Highway fa­tal­i­ties that shocked the re­gion re­cently.

These sen­ti­ments were echoed by lo­cal po­lice who have been in­creas­ing op­er­a­tions on the re­gion’s roads for Road Safety Week which be­gan on Mon­day and will con­tinue un­til Au­gust 31.

Whit­sun­day Po­lice said they would be out in full force tar­get­ing driv­ers un­der the in­flu­ence as well as inat­ten­tive driv­ers us­ing mo­bile phones or fail­ing to fol­low ba­sic road rules.

PHOTO: COF­FEE+HOPS PHOTOGRAPHY

RISE IN AC­CI­DENTS: Res­cue pi­lot Owen Mait­land.

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