Kevin Farmer

Warwick drivers steer to improved road safety

MORE Rose City motorists are buckling up, hitting the brakes and leaving the driving to a designated driver if the latest statistics from the Department of Transport and Main Roads are anything to go by.

When the number of traffic infringements dished out by Warwick police from January 1, 2012 to June 30, 2012 is compared with the same period this year speeding, driving without seatbelts and drink-driving offences all fell.

Mobile phone offences, including talking and texting while driving, fell from 122 infringements to just 73.

Speeding went from 1137 down to 974.

Drink driving decreased from 32 to 24.

Only 30 motorists were nabbed not wearing a seatbelt so far this year compared to 50 in 2012.

Warwick and District Road Safety committee members Graham Buchner and Dave Kemp said the changes were great, but there was still room for improvement.

"I am glad to see that drink driving is down, but it is still too high," Mr Kemp said.

He said he was glad to see mobile phone offences on the decrease.

"Features such as Bluetooth and hands-free would have helped reduce the number," he said.

"Young people think that when their phone rings that they have to answer it. Just the other day I saw a young women texting while driving.

"It is a growing distraction."

Both men were not impressed with the number of drivers caught driving through stop signs, which decreased from 267 to 237.

"It is a $330 fine for not stopping at a stop sign so how stupid can you be to not stop," Mr Buchner said.

Not stopping or not obeying road signs is Mr Kemp's pet hate.

"The number (of people not stopping) is just far too high," he said.

"It is a major issue around here."

It is not just stop signs Warwickites have issues stopping at either.

In the first six months of this year nine drivers were caught driving through a red light, 31 were caught disobeying a road sign and 23 booked for failing to give way.

Both road safety advocates felt the decrease in speeding, drink driving and talking on the phone could be related to the decrease in traffic crashes over the past few years.

The statistics, from the Department of Transport and Main Roads, state no fatal car crash occurred in 2012 or in the first half of 2013.

This was an improvement with one fatal crash recorded each year from 2006 through to 2010 with three fatal crashes in 2011, claiming a total of 12 lives.

Crashes have been on a steady decrease since 2009 where a total of 90 crashes were recorded.

The following year just 69 happened followed by just 32 in 2011 and 21 in 2012.

Mr Buchner said while safer driving practices played a part so did the improvements to modern-day vehicles.

"The later model cars all have lots of safety features include side curtain airbags and better brakes which all contributes to not as many serious accidents," he said.

Both Mr Buchner and Mr Kemp said they would love to see the roads around our region continue to become safer to drive on.

The Warwick and District Road Safety Committee is still lobbying to have the Eight Mile intersection fixed and awareness programs to reduce the number of people not stopping at stop signs.

Both were asked for their top driving safety tip.

"People need to drive to the conditions and keep their distance from the car in front," Mr Kemp said.

Patience was Mr Buchner's philosophy.

"Motorists need to pay more attention and not be so bloody impatient."

Warwick police were unavailable for comment yesterday.

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