The billboard honouring Emily Barnett and other victims of road trauma has been erected on the Bruce Hwy at Midgee.
The billboard honouring Emily Barnett and other victims of road trauma has been erected on the Bruce Hwy at Midgee.

Sombre memorial a reminder of our devastating road toll

RISING high above the Bruce Hwy at Midgee sits both a poignant and confronting reminder of the mere seconds it can take to destroy the lives of countless Queensland families.

The Barnett family knows first-hand the anguish of road trauma and they have transformed their pain into a truly powerful message.

A gut-wrenching billboard was on Tuesday erected only a short distance from where their loved one, 21-year-old Emily Barnett, was tragically killed in a horrific traffic crash.

 

ROAD DEATH: 21-year-old Emily Barnett tragically lost her life in a crash on the Bruce Highway in May.
ROAD DEATH: 21-year-old Emily Barnett tragically lost her life in a crash on the Bruce Highway in May.

Ms Barnett, along with her friend Emily Reid, were involved in a head-on collision in late May on the very same stretch of road where her tribute now sits.

It comes following Monday's launch of Rural Road Safety Month at Rockhampton's Kershaw Park, where Emily's father Adrian Barnett signed a pledge committing to driver safety.

The Barnett family - once again dedicated to their heartbreaking mission - were unable to attend yesterday's sombre unveiling, though plan to visit the site in coming days.

Proud uncle Leyland Barnett first shared images of the billboard on social media, explaining his niece sadly died on what is known as Fatality Free Friday.

"In the situation with Emily she had no hope, it was a 100km head-on collision and reaction is the problem there."

 

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

 

"It takes about 1.5 seconds to engage the breaks, so at those sort of speeds you've already travelled 500m before you've touched the break," he explained.

It is hoped the jointly-funded billboard will remind those travelling Queensland roads to take seriously the responsibility of their actions.

"[The billboard] makes a good impact; a good statement and it just makes people consider their actions on the roads," Leyland said.

"We need to make good decisions when we're out there driving - people need to accept that we need to drive to the conditions.

 

The family of Emily Barnett – uncle Leyland, aunt Davina, father Adrian and mother Stacy – sign the safety pledge at the launch of Rural Road Safety Month.
The family of Emily Barnett – uncle Leyland, aunt Davina, father Adrian and mother Stacy – sign the safety pledge at the launch of Rural Road Safety Month.

 

"It's your life impacted, the other family's lives, the first responders and the police officers that have to make the knock on the doors."

While the sign is expected to remain at the site for around seven months, donations from the community through the Barnett family's GoFundMe may see it erected for a full year.

"I'd really like to thank all the sponsors for that billboard, there's been quite a few sponsors who put into the billboard," Leyland said.

"Make sure you give your family and loved ones a cuddle before every time you jump in behind the wheel of a car because you just don't know whether it's going to be your last day."

Those who wish to donate to the GoFundMe cause can do so by clicking here.



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