This week is Queensland Road Safety Week for 2016! The week is an opportunity for all Queenslanders to get involved in making our roads safer and minimising the chances of traffic accidents.

The focus for this year’s event is ‘speaking up for road safety’, encouraging the whole community to join the conversation about road safety. The weeklong event will cover the fatal five including drink and drug driving, speeding, fatigue, seatbelts and child restraints and driver distractions.

Communities, schools and workplaces are encouraged to support the week through hosting local events or sharing road safety information among staff, students, colleagues, family and friends. To speak up for road safety, we have decided to dedicate this week’s article to road safety and traffic accidents. We are discussing the ‘fatal five’, who is most likely to be killed or injured in a road accident, and when an injured person can make a claim.

Traffic accidents occur for many different reasons, however there are five common causes. These most common causes are known as the ‘fatal five’ and are responsible for the majority of crashes.

They are discussed below, and some of the statistics are sure to surprise you:

  1. Driver Distraction
    • In 2013 driver distraction contributed to 19 fatalities and 1,343 hospitalised casualties on Queensland roads;
    • Approximately 76% of Queenslanders use their mobile phone while driving, increasing their risk of a serious crash by 4 times.
  2. Drink Driving
    • In 2016 drink driving accounted for 64 fatalities on Queensland roads – close to a quarter of all fatalities;
    • The risk of having a crash where there is a casualty increases rapidly with increasing blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels;
    • Almost 1 on 4 drivers admit to not knowing when it is legally safe to drive the day after drinking alcohol.
  3. Driver Fatigue
    • In Queensland, between 2008 and 2013, almost 15% of fatalities were identified as being from fatigue-related crashes;
    • Research shows that being awake for more than 17 hours is similar to having a blood alcohol content of more than 0.05;
    • A driver is four times more likely to have a fatal crash if they are driving between 10pm and dawn;
    • Nearly 30% of all fatal fatigue-related crashes occur during public and school holiday periods.
  4. Seatbelts and Restraints
    • In 2013 there were 35 fatalities and 155 hospitalised casualties on Queensland roads who were known to have been unrestrained;
    • Drivers and passengers are around 8 times more likely to be killed in a road crash if they are not wearing a seatbelt;
    • Men and those aged between 30-39 years were the most frequently unrestrained vehicle occupant groups killed in 2011.
  5. Speeding
    • In 2014 there were 65 fatalities as a result of speed-related crashes, representing more than 1 in 4 road deaths in Queensland;
    • Almost 1,000 people are either killed or injured in speed crashes every year;
    • Around half of all serious speed-related crashes happen at just 10km/hr or less above the speed limit.
Traffic accidents do not just involve vehicles but also include pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicycle riders. In 2013 there were 271 fatalities made up of:
  • Driver – 136 fatalities;
  • Passenger – 56 fatalities;
  • Motorcycle or moped rider or passenger – 45 fatalities;
  • Pedestrian – 21 fatalities;
  • Bicycle rider or passenger – 13 fatalities.
In addition to these tragic deaths there were 6,921 hospitalised casualties on Queensland roads in 2013. Of those that were hospitalised many suffered serious and permanent injury. Often significant financial losses are associated with serious and permanent injury and this is when consideration should be given to commencing a claim.

If an injured person did not cause the motor vehicle accident, they are able to bring a claim against the CTP Insurer of the person who did cause the accident (known as the ‘at-fault’ driver). This way they may be compensated for these losses.

They are able to claim for losses such as:

  • Pain and suffering and loss of amenity;
  • Loss of income and superannuation up to the date of settlement;
  • Reimbursement for monies already paid out for things such as medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, pharmaceuticals, travelling expenses etc.;
  • Past gratuitous care;
  • Loss of income and superannuation likely to be suffered in the future once the claim has settled;
  • The cost of medical treatment, continued rehabilitation, pharmaceuticals, any equipment needs, travelling expenses, commercial assistance etc. likely to be suffered in the future once the claim has settled;
  • Interest on past losses.
Traffic accidents can have devastating effects on not only those who are inured but also on the injured person’s family members. Those who are injured due to the negligent driving of another can bring a claim against the CTP Insurer of the at-fault driver, to be compensated for their losses flowing from their injury.

While Queensland has seen a reduction in the number of fatalities in 2014 from previous years, there perhaps could have been many more lives saved if the ‘fatal five’ were in the back of driver’s minds before they got behind the wheel. It is important then, that everyone is aware of these ‘fatal five’, as this may go a long way in preventing many serious traffic accidents and fatalities.

Road Safety Week is a Queensland Government Initiative delivered in partnership by the Queensland Department of Transport & Main Roads and the Queensland Police Service and will run from 22 – 28 August 2016. For event information and to find out how you can get involved visit: www.jointhedrive.qld.gov.au/road-safety-week. You can also follow the conversation on social media using the hashtag #SpeakUpSelfie.

If you have been a victim of a road accident you may be able to bring a claim against the driver at fault for losses caused by the accident. For more information on your options call Gouldson Legal or fill out a free case review form.

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