September 29, 2020
It’s just pure luck that more people haven’t died on South Burnett roads over the past fortnight.
That’s the assessment of Kingaroy Police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Dave Tierney when he considers the 13 crashes – not “accidents” – which have occurred locally recently.
Sadly, two of these incidents were fatal: a 30-year-old Ipswich man died at Goomeri and a 72-year-old Glan Devon woman was killed at Nanango.
However, Snr Sgt Tierney said any of the other crashes which occurred on our highways and back roads could have had the same tragic result.
And only one involved a second vehicle … the rest were all single vehicles rolling or smashing into trees.
So what’s behind this sudden spate of single-vehicle crashes?
“It’s all just a matter of distraction; people are just not paying attention,” Snr Sgt Tierney said.
One of the crashes involved someone swerving to avoid an animal on the road; another may have involved a pet inside the vehicle but the result is always the same … vehicles running off the road.
Snr Sgt Tierney doesn’t believe it has anything to do with the school holidays – only the Goomeri crash had children in the car – and most involved South Burnett residents.
And he doesn’t blame the condition of the roads; he believes people simply aren’t “driving” any more.
“People are ‘sitting in a lounge chair’ instead of driving,” he said.
They aren’t paying close attention to their surroundings, the road conditions or their vehicle.
“They suddenly become alert to something, they over-correct, their vehicle loses its centre of balance and it rolls,” he said.
“People aren’t driving to the road conditions.
“Cars have become too easy to drive.
“They get too relaxed behind the wheel. When they need to react, it’s too late …”
Snr Sgt Tierney said complacency was also to blame.
Too many people thought crashes just involved “old people” or “young people who drive like hoons”.
“They think it’s not going to happen to me,” he said.
Snr Sgt Tierney urged drivers to always “respect themselves, respect other road users and respect your passengers”.
“It’s not worth the risk. In any one of these crashes someone could have been killed. It has been just pure luck.”