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Bruce contributing more than Gympie's fair share of deaths

GYMPIE Region has had a tragic year on the roads, with at least 10 deaths up to late yesterday, most of them on the Bruce Hwy.

The figure represents far more than the region's fair share of a state road toll, which appears to be improving.

With a little more than 1% of the state's population, our region was where nearly 4.5% of the state's road deaths occurred in 2014.

Gympie's estimated 50,000 people are part of a state population of about 4.6 million, but we had at least 10 out of 223 road deaths recorded throughout the state.

Police have pleaded with visitors and locals alike to drive as carefully as they can to keep the figures from getting any worse tonight.

But already Tin Can Bay police have reported six drink drivers and six drug drivers detected in their region since Boxing Day.

A spokesman said the Brisbane-based mobile drug testing unit would be in the area for the week and seemed to still be taking people by surprise.

"They're used to it in Brisbane, they expect to be tested," he said.

"But up here they don't expect it."

Across the state though, Queensland is reportedly on track to have its lowest road toll on record, despite an increase in the number of road users.

Announcing the news yesterday, Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson gave primary credit to "the LNP Newman Government's Road Safety Action Plan," along with "police enforcement and the vigilance of drivers".

But Mr Emerson said he is keen for drivers to keep up the good work and, with luck and good management, live to see 2015.

"Today, the 2014 road toll stands at 223, which is 48 less than last year's road toll," Mr Emerson said.

"Until this year, our lowest record benchmark was in 2010. However we are 26 below that toll currently and while any death on our road is a tragedy, all Queenslanders should be congratulated for their patience, attention, caution and observing the fatal five.

"Looking back through history it is a sobering fact that the highest road toll was 638 in 1973 and while the state's population has more than doubled since then, the road toll has more than halved."

Mr Emerson urged drivers to "remain vigilant on the roads as the summer holidays continue into 2015".

Mr Emerson said the government had "delivered a $350 million Road Safety Action Plan".

"As part of this, we have been actively encouraging the community to understand the dangers of the fatal five when driving on our roads: speeding, drink and drug driving, failure to wear a seatbelt and driving while fatigued or distracted.

"The community has been able to get on board with road safety in one way or another through our Join the Drive campaign, which is a fresh, modern approach to our frontline campaigns, shying away from images of gore and broken bones that are no longer working.

"We have also been educating Queenslanders to share the road as part of our Thanks Queensland campaign."

These measures, in conjunction with the positive attitudes of Queenslanders being more aware of their actions on the road, have all helped contribute to the encouraging reduction in the road toll.

RACQ spokeswoman Lauren Ritchie said the dangerous stretches of the Bruce Hwy remained Queensland's most urgently needed road upgrade.

"The Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay area have had a notoriously high road toll for many years," she said this week.

Gympie Times

Topics:  bruce highway, editors picks, fatality, road toll




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