Publish date: 17 November 2023
The Gillies Highway in far north Queensland

While last year marked an 84 per cent climb in road toll fatalities on the year prior, this year is on track to slash the death toll of 2022 by nearly half in Far North Queensland (FNQ). The latest data from the Department of Transport and Main Roads reveals that FNQ has seen a 40 per cent drop in road fatalities over the same period last year. 

While this is reassuring news for the region, leading Queensland-based compensation law firm Travis Schultz & Partners (TSP) is reminding road-users that it’s not a time to become complacent as we head into the festive season and one of the deadliest times of the year on our roads. 

“While the stats in 2023 are certainly encouraging – although of course, every life lost is still one too many – these final six weeks of the year are incredibly high risk for everyone on the roads,” says TSP Partner & Cairns Leader Beth Rolton. 

FNQ faced a horror year of road trauma in 2022 with the total number of deaths spiking by another 25 per cent in the final six weeks of the year, so this is a timely reminder to be that little more vigilant when getting behind the wheel as we head into the festive season.2  

“Of those lives tragically lost, thousands more are impacted. We remember them on Sunday 19 November for World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (#WDoR2023). This is a global day initiative that honours the lives claimed on our roads, as well as those who are injured, grieving a loss, and the emergency responders. 

“The encouraging news is that after spiking during 2022, traffic deaths in FNQ are slowly coming down. We have seen some major road works and upgrades completed in the Far North which may contribute to road safety. 

“This downward trend of fatalities and hospitalisations in North and Central Queensland could be considered the result of various factors, including changes in roadway design, campaigns to reduce drunk driving and increase seatbelt use, and vehicle crashworthiness, among others.” 

The latest data from the Department of Transport and Main Roads reveals 242 people have died this year as a result of crashes within Queensland. A total of 64 (26 per cent) of these being in the Far North, Central and Northern regions which include Cairns, Townsville and Mackay. 

Despite increasing traffic on Queensland roads this year, with approximately two per cent increase in car registrations, there has been a marked decline in vehicle crash fatalities in Queensland compared to last year,” Ms Rolton said.  

“While this is welcome news for our state, the nation reports a near five per cent greater fatality rate. I have spent more than a decade working with victims of motor vehicle accidents and I have seen firsthand that the impact for these victims goes far beyond the physical injuries. Too often, victims of road accidents are left with devastating — and often permanent — injuries.  

“There is a toll taken on their employment, financial security, relationships, and mental health. The journey to rebuild their lives after an accident can be very long and difficult. 

“I would encourage all road users to use this International Day of Remembrance to reflect on their driving habits and avoid taking risks that could cost them or another person their lives – particularly as we head into the season of holidays, celebrations and connecting with friends and family. Take care on our roads, drive to the conditions, and avoid distractions.”  

As broadcasted on Cairns Seven News Live.

Beth Rolton
Beth Rolton
Partner & Cairns Leader
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