Save lives by counting to 100 on Fatality Free Friday
In a heartbreaking submission to the draft National Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030, Sunshine Coast widower Colin Caudell has counted the months since his wife was killed in a tragic road crash on the Bruce Highway.
It’s 100 months since Suzanne Caudell, a traffic controller, was tragically killed by a truck speeding through road works near Marlborough. Her husband, Colin Caudell, has counted the months, and the mounting number of other lives that have been lost since her death in 2013.
Mr Caudell said this year is off to a shocking start, with already a 27% increase in the number of road deaths occurring nationally, compared to the same period in 2020.
“I’m shocked and saddened that road deaths in Queensland have increased by 37 percent, second only to the number in the ACT, which has increased by 118 percent!” Mr Caudell said.
“The draft National Road Safety Strategy had a goal of reducing road accidents and deaths from road accidents by 50 percent. It also has a target of zero road deaths by 2050, we aren’t in any way close to meeting these targets if we don’t change driver behaviour in regard to speeding. That’s why I’m waging war on speeding drivers!”
Leading Queensland compensation lawyer, Travis Schultz, said he’s all too familiar with the heartbreaking outcomes of speeding drivers on local roads.
Mr Schultz has represented numerous surviving victims of road accidents, including Mr Caudell, and the loved ones of people who’ve died needlessly in road accidents because of a speeding driver or reckless motorist.
“Colin’s story is absolutely devastating. To lose his wife in a terrible incident, and then count every month since this event while watching the road toll climb around you is unimaginable,” Mr Schultz said.
“It means your loved one’s death hasn’t made anyone stop and think, nor the next person killed after that, or the next. Our loved ones are dying and we’re not slowing down to make sure it doesn’t happen again!”
Fatality Free Friday is on 28 May and it’s a national campaign to highlight the need for the whole community to actively change their behaviour on the road for at least one day. The Australian Road Safety Foundation says its target to have one day free from fatalities on the road is the first step in the aim to see overall community change.
“Losing my wife in a road accident was devastating, but how many more wives, husbands, sons and daughters, neighbours, friends must we lose before we make a change? Speed is the common denominator in the accidents and fatalities – if we can all just slow down, we can avert many accidents and so many needless deaths,” said Mr Caudell.
“This month three and a half years ago, another traffic controller was killed on the Bruce Highway by a motorist who was high on drugs and speeding through road works. Ken Altoft went to work that day, and never returned home to his family.
“This month also marks the five and a half years since a third traffic controller, Ben Smit, was killed on an accident at Redbank Plains, again by a speeding and drug influenced driver at road works.
“Changing community behaviour to save one life at a time, one day at a time, is going to take more than one man’s fight. Fatality Free Friday reminds us of the need for every driver, every motorist every road user to slow down, and save a life!” he said.
Mr Schultz said the national focus on a fatality free day is important during National Road Safety Week – and hopes the messages of heartbreak from Colin Caudell and other families can prompt a change in driver behaviour.
“It’s my greatest hope to never again have to represent a bereaved widow, mother, father or son and daughter to claim compensation from a fatal road accident.
“In our busy and distracted lives it’s easy to forget about the consequences that a moment of inattention on the roads can cause. We need to remember that every road user, pedestrian highway worker has a family and loved ones. In a moment of distraction, it’s not just the person we hit who pays a price. Let’s change behaviour, starting today”.
You can join the effort, by pledging your support of Fatality Free Friday. Head to https://arsf.com.au/take-the-pledge/