Thursday, September 7, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Over the past eight weeks, our region has witnessed eight tragic road fatalities.
While driver error and the 'fatal five' are contributing factors in some of these accidents, it's high time that governments step up and acknowledge their share of responsibility for poorly constructed and inadequately maintained roads and highways.
The incessant battle with pothole-riddled roads, constant bumps, and gouges undoubtedly exacerbates driver fatigue.
The frustration of motorists navigating roads devoid of overtaking lanes often leads to dangerous overtaking manoeuvres, especially given the surge in traffic, particularly during the ever-popular caravanning season.
The Bruce Highway, in some sections, falls short of what should be a dual-carriage highway, resembling more of a crumbling goat track.
A few months ago, while driving to Rockhampton, I experienced my vehicle unexpectedly veering sideways after hitting a substantial gouge in the road. Fortunately, the modern ute I was driving equipped with substantial tyres regained control, but the danger is evident, especially for older vehicles. A week later, tragically, a fatality occurred in the same area, and I wondered if they had struck one of the bad bits of the road.
Our region contributes billions of dollars in mining royalties to the state's coffers, yet very little is reinvested in our roads. The allocation for Bowen Basin road improvements is woefully inadequate. Those workers generating immense wealth for the state should, at the very least, have a safe passage to and from their workplaces.
If investigations into recent accidents, such as the one on the Saraji road near Dysart, reveal that poor road conditions played a role, it is only right that governments are held accountable for the rising death toll on our roads.
Road safety is a collective responsibility, and we must demand better from those entrusted with our infrastructure and safety.