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Gympie locals defy national road toll: safer roads the key.



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12 January 2001 B10/2001

GYMPIE LOCALS DEFY NATIONAL ROAD TOLL - SAFER ROADS THE KEY

According to official end of year road fatalities, only one of the 317 deaths on Queensland roads have occurred in the town of Gympie.

During a visit to Gympie today, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Senator Ron Boswell, said he was glad to be advised that Gympie trended against the national figures and many other local township fatalities in Queensland.

“It is extremely devastating for those families who have lost loved ones and we should not accept the road toll as inevitable,” he said.

“The end of year Gympie fatalities were the same for l999, with the 1999 fatality apparently due to driver inattention. 

“Across the State, there has been a 22.7 per cent increase in the number of driver fatalities for the Year 2000 since 1999.

Official road fatalities for the year 2000, released by Senator Boswell this week, show a 3 per cent increase from 1999 fatalities.

“The year 2000 recorded 1,817 fatalities on our nations roads - this is the highest figure we have seen since 1996 when 1,970 fatalities were recorded,” he said.

Senator Boswell said that a major objective, as part of the National Road Safety Action Plan released late last year and agreed to by all state and territory transport ministers, was to improve the safety of our roads - “it is the single most significant achievable factor in reducing road trauma.

“Between Yandina and Gympie, the Federal government is spending $110 million with work currently underway (Yandina - Cooroy Bruce Highway Duplication); $1 million on planning for Cooroy-Gympie Duplication, and $5 million for overtaking lanes south of Gympie where planning is underway.

“The Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, has also approved a tender for the $5.8 million construction of the Northern Eumundi Interchange on the Bruce Highway and I understand construction is underway,” he said.

Senator Bowell said driver fatigue and alcohol were among the major causes of road death.  “It is frustrating to know that these dangers can be avoided if drivers only took a few simple precautions,” he said.

“A major commitment is needed from all of the community if we are going to achieve safer national roads.

“Fatality figures and continued trends need to be reversed, we need to do much more if we are to achieve the vision of a genuinely safe road transport system in Australia.”

Senator Boswell stressed that government and police efforts to address deriving behaviour can only be successful with the active involvement and guidance by young drivers’ peers and family.

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© Commonwealth of Australia 2000 Last updated:  Wednesday, 17 January 2001