State Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety Mark Bailey has urged young drivers to be more cautious on Queensland roads.
Speaking at Allan Border Field following the announcement of a new partnership between Queensland Cricket and the State Government as part of the ‘Join the Drive’ campaign, Mr Bailey says there needs to be a strong focus on implementing a safety-driven mentality in Queensland’s newest drivers.
“We’ve got more fatalities than last year and we need to get that safety message out there, particularly to young people,” Mr Bailey said.
The state’s first Minister dedicated to road safety says that fatalities amongst young drivers has been a problem for some time, and that the high fatality rate is indicative of the reasons behind alterations to the training of learner drivers.
In June 2015, the Queensland Government increased the difficulty of the learners practical driving test, incorporating an emphasis on high-risk manoeuvres in an attempt to ensure that graduating young drivers’ road skills and knowledge was up to speed.
“We’re having some young drivers failing the test now because they’re not good enough to get the license – that’s how it should be,” Mr Bailey said.
“Young people make up 14% of our licenses yet they make up 34% of our fatalities on the road.
“It’s relatively safe when they’re learning and have someone in the car but when they get their license we’re seeing the crash rate spike and it takes a while to come down.”
However the alterations to the learners’ practical test culminated with freshly-released information regarding the increased prevalence of speed cameras on Queensland roads appears to be having minimal effect.
Queensland’s annual road toll currently sits at 167, an increase of four fatalities from September 2015.
Mr Bailey says the message is black and white when it comes to speeding.
“The message is very simple when it comes to speed cameras. If you don’t speed, you don’t get fined,” he said.
“62 Queenslanders lost their lives last year because of speed. Half of those were because of people speeding as less than 10 km/h above the speed limit.”
Mr Bailey also pledged improvements to be made in relation to motorcyclists, who despite accounting for five percent of licenses make up 22% of deaths on Queensland roads.
The Minister also jumped to the defence of Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk following claims the Government is becoming increasingly disjointed.
“The Palaszczuk Government is absolutely united behind Premier Anna Palacsczuk, anyone who says anything different is living in lah-lah land.”