The forgotten victims of a death on the road are never in the car.

They're the ones left behind, forced to celebrate their first Christmas, birthday or anniversary without their loved one beside them.

Rebecca Roberts' voice chokes and tears start to fall when she retells the story of her son's final moments.

"Zach was sitting on the back of the ute," she recounted for a road safety campaign being launched this week.

"(It) hit a sand pocket and flipped."

Eight years ago 18-year-old Zach Roberts was killed in a ute rollover on Cape Palmerston beach.

His sister Emily Roberts said in that moment she lost "the best big brother in the world".

This is the heartbreaking message Mackay police want drivers to remember before getting behind the wheel this holiday season.

Mackay District Superintendent Glenn Morris said he expected it to be a busy season for emergency services, with more than 6000 people driving on Mackay's stretch of the Bruce Highway every day through the holidays.

Supt Morris said he did not want to see the death toll rise, particularly after such a devastating year.

Rebecca Roberts' son Zach Roberts, 18, was killed in a ute rollover on Cape Palmerston beach in 2012. Picture: Mackay Police
Rebecca Roberts' son Zach Roberts, 18, was killed in a ute rollover on Cape Palmerston beach in 2012. Picture: Mackay Police

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Supt Morris said 21 people had been killed on Mackay's roads this year.

This time last year there had only been nine fatalities.

"Quite often friends, family and loved ones are the forgotten victims," Supt Morris said.

"Our hope is that no more families will have to go through this."

Supt Morris said December marked the one year anniversary of a string of fatal crashes in the Mackay region.

In December 2019 three people lost their lives on the road in less than seven days, including a 12-year-old girl from the Pioneer Valley, 55-year-old Sarina resident and new father Hans Ah Chee and a 57-year-old man from north of Cairns.

Supt Morris said all three deaths were fatigue related.

He said half of all road fatalities were fatigue related, with speeding, drug and drunk driving, distraction and a lack of seatbelts responsible for the rest of the crashes.

Mackay District Superintendent Glenn Morris. Picture: Zizi Averill
Mackay District Superintendent Glenn Morris. Picture: Zizi Averill

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Supt Morris said police would be stepping up patrols and random breath tests this holiday season.

"We're pleading with the community, every single motorist, to do their part," he said.

"The risk behind a wheel affects everyone equally.

"There's no phone call worth your life.

"If you are tired please pull over."



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