The touching roadside memorial in honour of 21-year-old Emily Barnett.
The touching roadside memorial in honour of 21-year-old Emily Barnett.

ROAD TOLL: CQ just five deaths away from tragic title

DRIVERS across Central Queensland are once again urged to exercise caution when travelling as the state exceeds its annual road toll.

The concerning revelation was this morning announced in conjunction with the launch of National Road Safety Week – coming mere days after surpassing last year’s fatalities.

Speaking at Rockhampton Police Station, Senior Sergeant Shaune English of Queensland Police confirmed the region was again in the midst of a road safety crisis.

“Unfortunately, this year we’ve already exceeded the total deaths for last year, so road safety is just something to bring back to people’s minds on top of everything else that is going on this year.”

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Senior Sergeant Shaune English appeals to drivers as the state exceeds the annual road toll.
Senior Sergeant Shaune English appeals to drivers as the state exceeds the annual road toll.

“Last year we had a relatively good year, there was only 219 deaths on the road. I say only but that’s still too many. As of Monday, we’re at 233,” he explained.

The Capricornia district – including Gin Gin, Marlborough and Emerald – are reportedly under the toll by just five deaths.

Both fatigue and speed were notable contributors to the fatality count despite the region being restricted to only essential travel for some months.

“What’s really concerning is the large period of times we’ve had is this year where people have been in isolation and we haven’t had people on the roads.”

“The figures, if anything, should be going down and it’s really concerning that they’re going up.”

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21-year-old Emily Barnett died in a fatal traffic crash earlier this year.
21-year-old Emily Barnett died in a fatal traffic crash earlier this year.

Sadly, residents are all too familiar with traffic fatalities; 21-year-old Emily Barnett and 24-year-old Nathanael Patson just some of the lives lost on local roads this year.

“We’ve got some larges distances in the region, particularly when you get outside of Rockhampton, heading either north or west. It’s the same in Gladstone if you head south or west.”

“When people don’t pay attention, they get bored, when you get bored is when you get tired and that’s when things can go pretty wrong.”

Another contributor, he added, is the mentality that faster speeds result in less time spent on the roads.

“People think if they get there quickly, they’re safer but unfortunately once you drive faster you lose that reaction time,” Snr Sergeant English said.

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Crash on Berserker and Charles St North Rockhampton earlier this year.
Crash on Berserker and Charles St North Rockhampton earlier this year.

Unfortunately, it appears the upcoming holiday season will only likely further contribute to the devastating statistics.

“Starting next week, we’re going to see that busy period and traditionally that Christmas period is one of our major problematic times on the roads.”

“I would love to say we’re going to have a safe Christmas but the way this year is going on the roads it could likely be tragic.”

Sn Sergeant English advised drivers to be mindful of their surroundings and drive to conditions.

“Drive so other people survive – that’s the message to get out there, not only for yourself, but of others on the road.

“You may be a fantastic driver but that does not mean everyone else is.”



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