Drive safely this Christmas or consider the consequences

As the end of the year draws to a close and people get behind the wheel for the holidays, motorists are being reminded about what’s at stake if they don’t slow down and drive safely this Christmas.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Assistant Minister for Road Safety Scott Buchholz and Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey today launched the Australian Road Safety Foundation’s (ARSF) Christmas Road Safety Campaign. 

Mr McCormack said nine Christmas trees lined the parkland at Wilsons Outlook Reserve in Brisbane, representing the nine children who died on Australian roads between 1 December 2018 and 31 January 2019. 

“The trees are decorated with 217 yellow ribbons in memory of the lives senselessly cut short during this period last year – they are a stark reminder of the tragic consequences that can result on our roads,” Mr McCormack said.

“During the official holiday period last year, 41 people were killed on the road – that’s dozens of families who will be without a loved one this holiday. I implore everyone getting in a car to think about those you love gathered at the Christmas table without you as a reminder of what’s at stake.

“With the 2019 national road toll at 1,012 at the end of October, more families are facing their first Christmas without their mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter this year. It’s a reminder that we each have a role in reducing the road toll by slowing down, taking breaks, sharing the drive where possible and following the road rules – wear a seatbelt, don’t drink or take drugs and don’t touch your mobile.

“If we all play our part, we can get to and from our Christmas holidays safely over the next few weeks.”

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said Christmas was one of the most dangerous times on Australian roads with fatigue, a spike in drink and drug driving and drivers on unfamiliar roads resulting in more crashes.

“The takeaway message from today’s event is to look out for one another and drive with caution this festive season,” Mr Buchholz said.

“You might be a good driver, but you have to look out for other road users and ensure you are driving to the conditions, especially on unfamiliar roads.

“Road safety is something we encourage year round, but in the holidays it is crucial every driver out there is taking the necessary precautions before getting behind the wheel.”

Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the State recorded a horror festive season on the roads last year with 13 lives lost, representing one third of the national toll over that period.

“Every one of these casualties has a ripple effect on individuals, families and communities across Queensland,” Mr Bailey said.

“We added an extra $205 million in this year’s budget to bolster road safety, but the Fatal Five – speeding, distraction, alcohol and drugs, fatigue and not wearing a seatbelt continue to be the major causes of death on our roads.

“If you’re planning to drink, nominate your Lift Legend, that person who will get you home safely. Put the phone in the glovebox or set it to Do Not Disturb so you’re not distracted by it.

“These are easy choices and things to consider before you get behind the wheel that could save your life, or the life of someone else.”

The Australian Road Safety Foundation and advocate partners remind road users of the personal responsibility we all have in ensuring we are focused and fit to drive.

The official road safety Christmas period runs for 12 days from 23 December.