Truckies not to blame for staggering road toll, top cop says
ONE of Queensland's top police officers said motorists must pay closer attention when driving near trucks if we are to reduce the staggering road death toll.
Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon (left) oversees police actions in southern Queensland and said truckies were involved in many crashes, but the cause of few.
"The general public may think the trucking industry is involved in a lot of fatalities but our data shows in the past year there were 49 incidents involving trucks in fatalities, of which two involved the driver of the heavy vehicle contributing in some way," he said.
Mr Condon paid a visit to the Caltex Truckstop Roadhouse on the New England Highway on Wednesday as part of his Road Safety Week efforts.
The road death toll for 2018 sits at 175, which is 14 more than this time last year.
It's been a horror year for heavy vehicle drivers with a 68percent increase in crashes and 38 truckies killed.
Mr Condon said stupid mistakes near trucks were the cause of those deaths.
"People are dying and loved ones are losing members of their family where poor decisions are being made continuously by drivers," he said.
"What we find is people, when over-taking trucks, don't leave enough room to come back into their lane.
"We find that, where a truck driver has left some distance between a vehicle in front, that seems to be an automatic invitation to the car behind, that it is their space."
This comes from a sense of over-confidence by drivers who AC Condon said tend to underestimate the length of road needed to over take a road train.
"It never ceases to amaze me how many accidents are on straight, good quality roads, where vision is very good," he said.
Young people make up a disproportionate number of road deaths and getting them to slow down, pay better attention the conditions and drive sober is key focus of this year's road safety week.
They make up almost 30percent of all crash fatalities, followed closely by seniors who make 24percent of deaths.
"It maybe that we need to completely review the age that we provide education to young people. It can be too late, by the time they get to that 14-15 year brackets where they are about to get their licence at 16. They are not listening to anyone, we know that from our own experience," AC Condon said.