TO RISKY: Terry Zillmann, officer in charge at the Biloela Ambulance Station, said distractions are becoming an increasing cause of accidents.
TO RISKY: Terry Zillmann, officer in charge at the Biloela Ambulance Station, said distractions are becoming an increasing cause of accidents.

Speed demons not deterred by pandemic

A driving instructor fostering the next generation of young drivers on our roads is determined to ensure they understand and act responsibly.

Elite Driving Education instructor Sue Macklyn said she drills into students the responsibility they have for their life and the lives of others when they are behind the wheel.

“My goal is to have them looking past just passing their driving test,” Mrs Macklyn said.

“Once they get their Ps they are looking at six months of zero harm as a goal.

“Once the learner gets their Ps, they are six times more likely to have a car accident caused by them.

“Within six months after they get their Ps, they are the age group that will have the most accidents.

“My goal is to get learners to become self thinking P-plate drivers before they get their licences.”

More than a quarter (27 per cent) of Queensland drivers admit to taking road risks since the implementation of Covid-19 lockdowns – the highest in the country.

This research by the Australian Road Safety Foundation coincides with Fatality Free Friday on May 29, an annual campaign that uses a community mobilisation strategy and media campaign to increase public awareness of road safety.

Biloela Ambulance Station officer in charge Terry Zillmann said distraction and fatigue are common causes of fatal accident scenes which he has attended over his career as a paramedic.

“One group of road crashes that I have attended over my 29 years as a paramedic that sticks out is when drivers have fallen asleep and then crossed onto the wrong side of the road and there just happened to be a vehicle on that section of road at that exact point in time,” Mr Zillmann said.

“This results in them becoming an innocent victim.

“Microsleeps can occur very quickly when you are fatigued and unfortunately although they may only be for a short time, the consequences can be life changing.

“Distractions are becoming an increasing cause of accidents, if the driver is not focused on the road ahead, it only takes a second to have an accident.”

The primary focus is to encourage people to join the campaign and make a personal pledge, either in person at one of the 200 regional events across the nation, online via the campaign website, or by adding a yellow ribbon to their social media page.

The campaign asks driver to commit to the ‘Five Keys’ of road safety; Always be fit to drive,

stay focused on the road, scan the road ahead, keep a safe distance and drive to suit the conditions.

Mr Zillmann pointed out that in terms of the effect of Covid isolation requirements, although the roads appear to have been much quieter, there has been an unseasonably high rate of accidents from March through to May.

“While we may not have to contend with as many motorists like we do in the urban environment, we have other factors in rural areas that require us to maintain our concentration and avoid distractions,” Mr Zillmann said.

“These include a higher rate of wildlife on the roads.

“If the driver is not distracted and is concentrating on the road ahead, it gives the driver the best chance of seeing the wildlife early and taking safe evasive action rather than seeing it late and being shocked which often results in unsafe evasive action resulting in a crash.”

Speeding is the most common risk being taken by Queensland drivers during Covid-19 lockdown conditions at a rate 42 per cent higher than when not in lockdown, which is by far the highest in the country.

This is followed by using a mobile phone behind the wheel which has been 10 per cent higher.

Almost a third (29 per cent) of Queensland drivers admit to speeding, using their mobile phone or driving distracted when kids are in the car.



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