40% of Gladstone road deaths occur on the Bruce Hwy
THE Bruce Hwy claimed more than 40% of all deaths on Gladstone roads over about 14 years.
Between January 2001 and March 2014, 83 people were killed on Gladstone roads - 36 of them in crashes on the Bruce Hwy.
Most deaths in that period took place on the coast's major highways and thoroughfares.
Seven people, the second highest total, were killed on the Gladstone-Benaraby Rd and six on each of Round Hill Rd and the Dawson Hwy.
RACQ safety expert Steve Spalding said upgrading roads could save lives, and money, in the long run.
"When you factor in the cost of fatalities and serious injuries to the community, which runs into the billions of dollars, suddenly the cost of upgrading a road becomes much less significant than it seems," he said.
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Mr Spalding said high speed limits and more traffic made highways much more dangerous than other roads.
He said fatigue from driving long distances and driver distraction - often from checking mobile phones - was leading to crashes.
"People are unfortunately wedded to their phones. Driver distraction is a huge issue," he said.
But Mr Spalding said no matter how good roads were, nearly all serious crashes involved driver error and some crashes could not be avoided.
"There are those still you can't control - people who ignore the rules, who drink-drive or worse still drug-drive," he said.
"Even the best roads - with the best vehicle and best driver - won't be able to stop that."
The Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety Queensland's Dr Judy Fleiter said bad driving habits led to a lot of deaths on regional roads.
"If your experience of a lifetime's driving tells you that you can get from A to B with two hours sleep with nothing bad happening, then we think we can always do that," she said.
"I think we are eternal optimists. If it hasn't happened to you in the past we assume it won't happen ever. All it takes is for one roo to jump out, one truck to swerve, loose gravel where you don't expect it and you could crash."