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Road safety

TMR is committed to the long-term vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on Queensland roads. To achieve this vision, the department implements road safety initiatives encompassing education, community engagement, enforcement, new technologies and safer roads and roadsides and drives a change in culture and attitudes to road safety through StreetSmarts campaigns.

Road Safety Policy

In August 2018, the department released the Road Safety Policy. The policy aims to embed Safe System principles (recognising that people make mistakes and that every part of the system, including roads and roadsides, should be designed to minimise harm) in TMR’s business by:

  • incorporating default safety treatments in all new road projects so that more safety treatments will be implemented proactively (before crash trends occur) rather than reactively
  • mandating the use of a newly developed safe system checklist which uses the Austroads’ Safe System Assessment Framework throughout all stages of a project’s lifecycle from early concept planning to finalisation.

Implementation of the policy is expected to increase the road safety benefits realised through the delivery of all road improvement activities undertaken by TMR, ultimately leading to fewer fatal and serious injury crashes on state roads in Queensland.

For more information on Road Safety Policy

The Queensland’s Road Safety Strategy 2015–21 is underpinned by four guiding principles that reflect a cultural shift in how TMR considers and reduces road trauma:

1. The true road toll is broader than fatalities
2. We need an ambitious vision with interim targets to inspire and motivate action
3. Safe System principles are the foundation for action
4. Road safety is everyone’s issue and everyone’s responsibility.

These guiding principles, and the specific commitment to the Safe System approach, have informed the development of a series of Queensland Road Safety Action Plans, each containing a range of initiatives that contribute to achieving the long-term vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on Queensland roads.

For more information on strategy and action plans

Queensland’s Road Safety Strategy 2015–21

The Queensland’s Road Safety Strategy 2015–21 is underpinned by four guiding principles that reflect a cultural shift in how TMR considers and reduces road trauma:

  • The true road toll is broader than fatalities
  • We need an ambitious vision with interim targets to inspire and motivate action
  • Safe System principles are the foundation for action
  • Road safety is everyone’s issue and everyone’s responsibility.

These guiding principles, and the specific commitment to the Safe System approach, have informed the development of a series of Queensland Road Safety Action Plans, each containing a range of initiatives that contribute to achieving the long-term vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on Queensland roads.

For more information on Strategy and action plans

Queensland’s Road Safety Action Plan 2017–19

Queensland road safety action plans provide an opportunity for the government to:

  • demonstrate (and communicate) its ongoing commitment to action to fulfil the ambitious vision of the Queensland’s Road Safety Strategy 2015–21 for zero deaths and serious injuries on Queensland roads
  • be transparent about the efforts being made to achieve the goals of the strategy
  • provide a basis for accountability by way of measurable progress.

The Queensland Road Safety Action Plan 2017–19 features 29 initiatives to be implemented over a two-year period, prioritising:

  • delivering safer roads for Queenslanders
  • getting people into safer vehicles
  • encouraging safer road use
  • planning our future and strengthen our partnerships.

For more information on Strategy and action plans

Community Road Safety Grants

In 2018, the Community Road Safety Grants Scheme awarded over $700,000 to 42 successful community organisations to continue to deliver local road safety programs.

The Community Road Safety Grants Scheme supports the Queensland Government’s Road Safety Strategy 2015–21 by providing opportunities for community organisations to lead and support local road safety initiatives within their local communities.

The Community Road Safety Grants Scheme has provided more than $14 million since 2013, funding programs including road safety education, resources and training, learner driver mentor programs for young drivers, bicycle education, child restraint information, and heavy vehicle fatigue management.

For more information on Community Road Safety Grants

Transport safety data

The department is committed to eliminating fatalities and serious injuries through community safety initiatives. Figure 7 and 8: show trend safety data over the previous 10 years.

In 2018–19, there were 228 fatalities as a result of crashes in Queensland, 18 (7.3 per cent) fewer than the previous year and 13 (5.4 per cent) fewer fatalities than the previous five-year average. The 2018–19 road fatality rate for Queensland was 4.51 per 100,000 population**, which is 9.0 per cent lower than the rate for the previous years (4.96 per 100,000 population). The road toll places Queensland third behind the Australian Capital Territory (1.42) and Victoria (4.12).

During 2018, there were 6750 hospitalised casualties because of road crashes in Queensland. This is 240 (3.7 per cent) greater than the previous year and 245 (3.8 per cent) greater than the previous five-year average.

Targeted Road Safety Program

The Targeted Road Safety Program (TRSP) provides funding for infrastructure improvements on the road network to treat locations with significant crash history and other identified safety concerns.

TRSP is an ongoing program of work with more than $140 million of high-benefit cost-effective projects delivered in 2018–19 across Queensland.

To effectively treat the various safety deficiencies identified, TRSP uses several sub-programs and initiatives to target specific issues. Current sub-programs and initiatives include:

  • Safer Roads Sooner program
  • Black Spot program
  • High Risk Roads
  • Flashing School Zone Signs
  • Various mass action programs such as:
    • Sign Spearing Mitigation
    • Township Entry Treatments
    • Hold the Red.

Vulnerable users (motorcyclists, pedestrians and bike riders) are of particular concern for the TRSP as more than 32 per cent of all road fatalities in Queensland involve vulnerable road users.

The majority of TRSP funding is sourced from revenues collected from the Camera Detected Offence Program which can only be expended on state-controlled roads. Funding for the Black Spot Program is provided by the Australian Government.

Camera Detection Offence Program

The Camera Detected Offence Program (CDOP) is a road safety initiative designed to reduce vehicle travel speeds on Queensland roads.

TMR and the Queensland Police Service work cooperatively to ensure the CDOP delivers the best road safety outcomes for all road users. The CDOP consists of mobile speed cameras, fixed speed cameras, red light cameras, combined red light/speed cameras, point to point speed camera systems and road safety camera trailers. The CDOP conducts risk-based assessments to determine the highest risk locations across the state for installation of a camera system.

The program has seen changes and influences in driver behaviour which has resulted in a reduction in crashes and crash related incidents. An evaluation conducted in 2018 by Monash University Accident Research Centre estimating that during 2016 the CDOP saved around 2500 casualty crashes, of which around 1650 were fatal or serious injury crashes. This saved the community approximately $1.5 billion. More than 98 per cent of these savings were attributed to the mobile speed camera program.

Portable speed detection camera situated on the side of the road with cars

Example of a CDOP camera.

Road fatalities per 100,000 population

2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
Queensland 6.16 5.66 6.15 6.44 4.89 4.95 5.08 5.14 4.96 4.51
Australia 6.41 5.84 5.66 5.50 4.97 4.95 5.26 5.03 4.93 4.82
Rest of Australia 6.47 5.88 5.54 5.26 4.99 4.95 5.30 5.00 4.92 4.89

Data source: Transport and Main Roads’ Road Crash database and relevant interstate authorities.
Population figures are from the Australian Bureau of Statistics – Catalogue 3101.0
Note: Each month Transport and Main Roads requests updates on interstate road crash data from the relevant interstate authorities for the current year-to-date road toll and confirmation of the road toll for the previous year by month.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics releases updated Australian Estimated Residential Population (ERP) figures on a quarterly basis. This has resulted in changes to fatality rates in previously reported years.
2018–19 figures are preliminary at time of printing.

Road fatalities by road user type (in Queensland)

Road user type 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
Drivers 138 106 120 139 114 110 113 95 120 113
Passengers 52 57 60 74 44 53 45 45 46 41
Motorcycle/moped twriders and pillions 41 50 57 50 36 47 55 65 39 42
Bicycle riders and pillions 7 5 9 11 15 5 8 4 7 5
Pedestrians 31 33 31 23 20 20 23 42 33 26
Other 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1

Data source: Transport and Main Roads’ Road Crash database
Note: This graph excludes ‘other’ fatalities such as horse riders, train drivers and train passengers.

Safer Roads, Safer Queensland

The Safer Roads, Safer Queensland forums, together with regional road safety forums, provide key opportunities for the Queensland Government to hear from a wide range of stakeholders about road safety in Queensland.

In the lead up to the sixth Safer Roads, Safer Queensland forum, the Queensland Government hosted a series of regional forums to explore road safety issues and ideas.

Beginning in August 2018 as part of Queensland Road Safety Week, the first regional forum was held in Townsville and focused on seatbelt use. It sought new ideas to encourage greater seatbelt use on regional roads. A second forum was held in Toowoomba in September and focused on potential solutions to road safety issues and concerns on the Darling Downs. Using local crash data as a foundation, regional consultation continued in 2019 with an All Roads, All Road Users forum in Maryborough in May, as part of Fatality Free Friday week. This was closely followed by a similar event in Rockhampton in June, which also considered the road safety priorities and ideas of the Central Queensland community.

This series of forums brought together local road safety advocates representing different road user groups including transport companies, driving and motorcycle riding schools, bicycle user groups, Indigenous groups, senior citizens’ groups and young people. Local and state-based government agency representatives including the Queensland Police and Emergency Services and local councils also participated.

The ideas to drive down the road toll generated by this series of regional road safety forums became conversation starters for the Safer Roads, Safer Queensland Forum in mid-July 2019 and informed the development of the next Queensland Road Safety Action Plan, due for release in late 2019.

Looking forward, the Queensland Government has planned a further 12 months of regional consultation events about road safety, to continue to listen to the views of Queenslanders and help contribute to achieving the long-term vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

Tables of participants at a Safer Roads, Safer Queensland forum.

Maryborough’s Safer Roads, Safer Queensland forum.

For more information on the Safer Roads Safer Queensland Forums

Windscreen sign spearing

Since 2011, four crashes have been reported in Queensland where vehicles have collided with bi-directional hazard signs (Image A). Three of these incidents resulted in the death of vehicle occupants.

Recent TMR research has established that windscreen penetration from these signs could be prevented by strengthening the connection from the post to the sign face, ensuring the sign is pulled down as the posts are impacted by a vehicle (Image B). This design has been included in TMR’s standard drawings for all new designs.

A total of $5.6 million has been allocated for the 2018–19, 2019–20 and 2020–21 financial years to retrofit existing signs at high-risk locations across Queensland. Approximately $1.4 million has been spent in 2018–19.

Crash test of four wheel drive driving into a sign Directional road sign speared into four wheel drive windshield

Image A: Bi-directional hazard signs.
Image B: The aftermath of a sign spearing crash (Image A) and the new treatment being crash tested.

Wet weather high visibility pavement marking trial

During wet weather, particularly at night time, road markings can be difficult to see leading to an increased risk of crashes.

In 2016, the department engaged the Australian Road Research Board to evaluate the wet weather performance of various pavement marking products.

Between 2016 and 2018, the retro-reflectivity performance (how well the line reflects light back to a light source, such as a headlight) at nine trial sites across South East Queensland were measured at approximately three-month intervals.

As part of these trials, several line marking materials were tested, including Cold Applied Plastic (CAP), which was found to retain the best retro-reflectivity performance in both dry and wet conditions.

TMR are investigating how to increase the use of CAP in painted line marking through maintenance programs and the delivery of new road projects to increase the safety outcomes on our roads.

This project was funded by the Targeted Road Safety Program.

Four wheel drive vehicle fitted with multiple cameras and sensors testing wet weather conditions

Evaluation vehicle measuring wet weather retro-reflectivity.

Hold the Red

TMR, in partnership with Queensland Police, began trialling potentially life-saving technology which can reduce the risk of crashes caused by drivers running red lights at a number of locations in Queensland in August 2018.

The technology, known as Hold the Red, is an active collision prevention system using radar to detect vehicles that are about to run a red light. When the danger is identified, the opposing traffic lights are held on red to halt drivers waiting for their lights to change to green.

Hold the Red lowers the risk of a crash at sites where it is installed, while still allowing for offenders to be penalised, keeping other drivers safe and acting as a deterrence to offenders.

Road safety and education

StreetSmarts program

In December 2018, TMR’s Join the Drive program was refreshed to StreetSmarts. StreetSmarts is a channel for educating everyone to become smarter and safer when using Queensland’s roads. The StreetSmarts website, social media and road safety campaigns all provide people with tools and techniques to use our roads safely.

Road safety awareness and education campaigns to encourage behaviour change in 2018–19 included:

  • a targeted campaign highlighting pedestrian safety in Brisbane CBD (August to September 2018)
  • ‘Road to zero’ campaign from the third Co-Lab Youth Road Safety Challenge (August to October 2018)
  • ‘LiftLegend’ drink driving campaign (Christmas and New Year 2018, Australia Day, ANZAC Day and Labour Day 2019)
  • Seatbelts campaign (December 2018 to March 2019)
  • ‘No go’ rideables campaign in the Brisbane CBD (April 2019)
  • ‘Move over, slow down’ campaign (May to June 2019)
  • ‘Drive smarter not faster’ campaign (April to July 2019).

Events and sponsorships in 2018–19 include:

  • Queensland Road Safety Week in partnership with Queensland Police (26–31 August 2018)
  • partnering with Queensland Cricket including ‘LiftLegend’ promotion at Brisbane Heat Big Bash League games (Summer 2018–19)
  • held the fourth Co-Lab Youth Road Safety Challenge (March 2019)
  • hosting the launch event for National Road Safety Week in Brisbane (6–12 May 2019)
  • sponsoring Fatality Free Friday (31 May 2019).

‘Drive smarter, not faster’

In April 2019, TMR launched a world-first safety campaign ‘Drive smarter, not faster’ which drew upon neuroscience to tackle speeding. This campaign featured advertisements showing real-life driving situations captured on dash-cam.

The dash-cam footage was raw and showed the reality of speeding and distractions. It encouraged Queenslanders to look at the simple techniques they can use to driver smarter, not faster.

To help drivers stop speeding and focus more on their driving, a series of experiments were developed by a leading Australian neuroscientist, Dr Lucia Kelleher, as part of the second phase of the campaign. Two stand-out experiments reduced the number of times people sped by up to one third. These were taking an imaginary driving test while on the road, as well as acknowledging other drivers. The StreetSmarts website and social media encouraged Queenslanders to try one of the eight experiments to see what would help them shut down their busy brain and focus on the road.

The campaign launched before the Easter long weekend, one of the busiest times on Queensland roads.

For more information on the StreetSmarts initiatives and campaigns

Queensland Cricket partnership

TMR’s third year of partnership with Queensland Cricket saw the ‘LiftLegend’ drink driving campaign featured at seven Brisbane Heat home matches at the Gabba and Metricon Stadium from December 2018 to February 2019. Over the past two years, the ‘LiftLegend’ and ‘Plan B’ drink driving campaigns have been seen by more than 300,000 people at Brisbane Heat matches. From December 2018 to February 2019, #LiftLegend messages reached over 176,000 people via StreetSmarts and Brisbane Heat Facebook pages.

For the first time in 2019, TMR was the major partner of the StreetSmarts Secondary Schools T20 Challenge, providing opportunities to share road safety messages with high school students as they prepare to learn to drive. There were 2790 students participating in the StreetSmarts Secondary Schools T20 Challenge across Queensland.

TMR has renewed the road safety sponsorship with Queensland Cricket for a further four years, from 2019 to 2023. Road safety campaigns will remain as Innings Break presenting partner at all Brisbane Heat Big Bash League (BBL) home games until 2023. The renewed partnership will expose more people to road safety messages year-round through the BBL, Women’s Big Bash League, and community cricket and school cricket competitions across Queensland.

Five students and three Brisbane heat players standing in front of street smarts banners

Students from Yeronga State High School met Brisbane Heat players Haidee Birkett and Jack Prestwidge to mark the start of the StreetSmarts T20 Secondary School Challenge 2019.

Road safety community engagement

In 2018–19, TMR engaged with a diverse range of stakeholders in order to influence improved behaviours and road environments that will positively impact the safety of all road users. The department operates with the flexibility to respond to current and emerging local issues, while providing advice and direction consistent with statewide road safety campaigns and Queensland Government objectives.

The department worked cooperatively with all levels of government, industry and community to ensure engagement initiatives are regularly activated across the state. These activities play an important part in the department’s aim to be a significant contributor to the development of a positive, statewide road safety culture.

The brief snapshot below, illustrates the diversity of our engagement activities during 2018–19:

  • While different in content and delivery, the Fatal Five feature as common focus points for many of the engagement activities conducted by our road safety teams. For example, raising awareness of the vulnerability of select road-user groups, assists in informing not only the broader community but also those who are at high risk.
  • A number of education and awareness events were held across the year promoting motorcyclist safety to the general public and riders. Activities were conducted along popular ride routes, including Canungra, Mount Tamborine and Rathdowney, raising community awareness of sharing the road safely in areas where motorcycling is a prevalent activity. In addition, the team utilised the strong support of industry, holding education activities at local motorcycle businesses to engage directly with riders and raise awareness of safe riding practices.
  • Community events provide a valuable opportunity to engage a targeted demographic with relevant road safety messages. Northern region, Lowered the Revs to provide an engaging, but alternative view on speed to race-goers at the Townsville 400. Located amongst the Supercar team merchandise sites and commercial providers, the ‘Let’s change the way we look at speed’ virtual reality experience was well received by event patrons, young and old. The interaction and feedback received across the three- day event was unanimously positive.
  • In Central Region, the team considered fatigue management and heavy vehicle safety while conducting Truckie Surveys at roadhouses and rest areas during Queensland Road Safety Week. The activity ensured the needs and concerns of those at the forefront of the industry, the drivers, were listened to and survey responses were used to inform the works program for the Bruce Highway Safety Package between Gin Gin and St Lawrence.

National Road Safety Week

National Road Safety Week, or Yellow Ribbon Week, took place from 6–12 May 2019 and shines a light on road safety and remembering those who lost their lives on roads. This week draws attention to vulnerable road users including those who work on or around Queensland roads.

Under the yellow glow of Brisbane’s Story Bridge, TMR hosted the official 2019 National Road Safety Week event and launched the week-long Drive So Others Survive (DriveSOS) campaign.

From Mossman Gorge to Helensvale, the department’s customer-facing and road safety employees were out in full force. Some of the highlights from the week included:

  • celebrities and local stars being temporary school crossing supervisors at two Rockhampton state schools
  • former National Rugby League stars and a host of Rockhampton celebrities showed their support
  • for school road safety, including training from the Central Road Safety Team
  • a big yellow ribbon on the Big Orange tourist attraction in Gayndah
  • an alpaca showed its support wearing a yellow scarf at Bundaberg’s Agro Trend
  • Mary Poppins from Maryborough Town Centre donned a yellow ribbon
  • Customer Service Centres staff across Queensland wore yellow to encourage customers to take the DriveSOS pledge:
    • At Logan, customers were able to try the SafeDrVR app using virtual reality glasses
    • At Ingham QGAP, customer were encouraged to sign the DriveSOS pledge on an inflatable car
    • At Bundall, staff created a Lego NRSW display.

Queensland Road Safety Week

Queenslanders were encouraged to speak up for road safety during the fourth annual Queensland Road Safety Week (QRSW) from 26–31 August 2018 in partnership with Queensland Police Service, Motor Accident Insurance Commission and RACQ.

A key event in TMR’s road safety calendar, QRSW encourages local communities to drive grassroots initiatives to support road safety across the state.

More than 200 registered events and activities were held across Queensland, more than double the number of events registered in 2017. These events ranged from shopping centre displays, school presentations and workplace events, each with the shared goal of sharing road safety messages.

Major activities during QRSW included:

  • launching a targeted campaign highlighting pedestrian safety in Brisbane CBD
  • launching the winning campaign from our Co-Lab Youth Road Safety Challenge ‘Road to zero’
  • hosting a stakeholder engagement forum ‘Seatbelts: Let’s make it click’ tackling seatbelt non-compliance in Townsville
  • coordinating community engagement events for motorists in Tolga, heavy vehicles in Warwick, and motorcyclists in Canungra.

The department’s road safety partner, Queensland Cricket, also supported the week through the Queensland Cricket Regional Tour.

Co-Lab Youth Road Safety Challenge

Encouraging safer vehicle choices by younger, less experienced drivers is a key priority for the department. In March 2019, 75 creative young Queenslanders gathered in Brisbane to brainstorm innovate online campaign ideas to encourage young drivers to buy safer cars.

Young people continue to be one of the most at-risk groups on the road. In 2018, 47 young lives were tragically cut short because of crashes on Queensland roads. Sadly, these people made up 19 per cent of last year’s road toll.

In 2018, the department developed and released the SafeCars App. This is a simple tool to help people compare and choose the safest car—new or used—for their budget.

During the fourth Co-Lab Youth Road Safety Challenge in March 2019, the department invited young Queenslanders to work with TMR to come up with campaign ideas to encourage young people to buy safer vehicles.

The event provided a great opportunity to educate young drivers that vehicle safety is an important factor to consider when purchasing a car, especially as young people have a higher risk of crashing due to inexperience.

The winning campaign idea, ‘You’re no dummy’ calls on young Queenslanders to make smarter vehicle choices by likening themselves to a crash test dummy and seriously considering if the car they are looking to buy will keep them safe in a crash.

‘You’re no dummy’, will complement the SafeCars app further encouraging people to consider vehicle safety as a priority in their purchase decision. By driving a vehicle with more modern safety features and a higher safety rating, drivers can reduce the risk of dying or being seriously injured in a crash.

The ‘You’re no dummy’ campaign will launch in August 2019 during Queensland Road Safety Week. The team behind the winning idea is made up of Christina Simonoski, Danielle Emmerich, Luke Middleton and Madison Brittain.

The Co-Lab Youth Road Safety Challenge was one of several initiatives announced by the Queensland Government from the Safer Roads, Safer Queensland Forum in 2015. Since the first Co-Lab Youth Road Safety Challenge in 2015, TMR has reached more than 12 million people through three campaigns to positively influence road safety behaviour change.

30 participants of Co-Lab Youth Road Safety challenging standing outside in front stage

Participants in the fourth Co-Lab Youth Road Safety Challenge 2019.

Safe Drivers, Safe Vehicles, Safe Roads

Traditionally, school holidays are one of the busiest times on Queensland roads with people taking the opportunity to travel our wonderful state and to visit family and friends.

To help keep Queensland road users safe, transport inspectors conduct regular roadside checks of private vehicles to ensure they are in a suitable condition to be on the road.

During ‘Operation Safe Vehicle – Holiday’, transport inspectors travel on our roads across the state performing light vehicle compliance checks in the lead-up to holidays.

The two-week operation during the December 2018 to January 2019 holidays involved 57 transport inspectors statewide who inspected a total of 1645 registered vehicles. Several local media outlets, including ABC radio and CQ News, took the opportunity to promote ‘Operation Safe Vehicle – Holiday’ and help spread TMR’s important road safety message in the lead-up to the festive season.

Whilst most intercepted drivers were operating their vehicle safely and legally, a total of 51 infringements and 273 deffect notices were issued by our transport inspectors. Offences ranged from failing to meet vehicle safety standards (like adequate tyre tread, functioning lights, and correct load restraints) to operating an unregistered vehicle.

Prevention is the best, and often cheapest, way to maintain a safe vehicle and regularly checking lights, tyre wear, brakes, steering and windscreen can make a big difference.

In 2018–19, 5326 vehicles were intercepted and inspected across Queensland as part of these operations, providing an invaluable opportunity to educate drivers about vehicle safety and remove dangerous vehicles from Queensland’s road network.

Financial year Intercepts Vehicle defects Penalty infringement notices issued
2018-19 5326 880 (16.5%) 172
2017-18 8064 1177 (14.6%) 283
2016-17 7465 1425 (19%) 190
2015-16 7903 1419 (18%) 256
2014-15 4007 795 (19.8%) 140
2013-14 4,333 1,153 (26.6%) 345
2012-13 4,878 1,334 (27.3%) 380
2011-12 7,826 1,329 (16.9%) 290
2010-11 7,183 1,309 (18.2%) 342
2009-10 9,434 1,517 (16.0%) 437

Data source: Data Analysis Reporting Centre (Service Delivery System and Program Office, Customer Services Branch)
All regions conduct Operation Safe Drive operations each year in the lead up to school holidays.
Notes: While the defect rate in recent years may appear high, it should be noted that the majority of the defects recorded were only minor, and that vehicles were filtered during these operations to target the worst ones.