Crash victim speaks out against red-light killers

Carmel McCleverty.
Carmel McCleverty. Kevin Farmer

TOOWOOMBA woman Carmel McCleverty is living with the pain caused by a driver trying to beat a red light.

Impatient drivers defying traffic signals are a major cause of injury in motor vehicle crashes.

Innocent motorists are often the victims of impatient fellow road users, according to law firm Slater and Gordon.

Ms McCleverty has first-hand experience.

She was seriously injured in June last year when a man driving a Holden Commodore at an estimated speed of 75kmh ran a red light at an intersection in the Toowoomba CBD and t-boned the Toyota Corolla sedan she was driving.

Ms McCleverty suffered a fractured pelvis in five places as well as massive dental and internal injuries. Her car was written off.

"The paramedics and doctors who treated me were shocked that I was still alive," she said.

"The police came to the hospital and told me the other driver had admitted running the red light because he was late for work and wanted to buy cigarettes.

"He wasn't injured and apparently continued on to work.."

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She still doesn't know if the man has been charged with anything.

Ms McCleverty, who had been working two jobs to save for her first holiday for a decade, said she had suffered considerable pain since the crash and had difficulty standing for long periods of time.

"This has changed my life and, as well as being in constant pain, it has left me feeling very insecure," she said.

"He could have killed me.

"The (crash) has taken its toll and I feel like I've aged 20 years over the last three months."

Ms McCleverty, who had never previously been in a road crash, said: "People just need to be patient and slow down. Life is too precious.

"I was driving to work along Herries St and had gone through a green light and then the next thing I know someone's tapping on my window asking: 'Are you alright?'," Ms McCleverty recalled.

Slater and Gordon Queensland Associate Gillian McKnight said Ms McCleverty was lucky to have survived, considering the speed the other driver was travelling.

"Even if a driver isn't speeding when a collision occurs, you're looking at a car travelling at least 40-60 kmh through an intersection and that can cause significant damage," she said.

Ms McKnight said the firm was regularly contacted by people seriously injured as a result of drivers running a red light signal.

She said the most recent road crash data report by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, published in 2012, had found disobeying traffic light signals was among the top 10 contributing factors in fatal crashes.

"Whether it's inattention or rushing to get to a destination, it's concerning how many drivers put themselves and others at significant risk by failing to abide by traffic signals," she said.

Ms McKnight said driving through an amber traffic light was also considered the same as running a red light and carried the same penalty of a $330 fine and three demerit points.

"It is a common misconception that it is okay to proceed on an amber light and many drivers go so far as to accelerate in order to avoid the impending red light," Ms McKnight said.

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