It's our tribute
By LEE McIVORlmcivor@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
MARGARET and Dave Thomas do not want the death of their daughter to have been in vain.
Kim Thomas died in a car accident on the Benaraby Road near the new Boyne Tannum roundabout in 2000.
The couple erected a roadside memorial on the site which now acts as a poignant reminder to driving safely.
"We did it for us,'' Margaret Thomas explained. "It is a landmark where she took her last breath.
"And hopefully it will make drivers aware someone had died there and they will drive responsibly.''
But the latest international research has questioned that belief.
R Jennifer Clark, an expert on roadside memorials, from the University of New England said that while many people reported the sight of a roadside memorial brought road safety issues to mind there was no scientific evidence to support the relationship between roadside memorials and driving quality.
"The Christmas/New Year road toll reminds us that we need all the information we can get on any factor that might help reduce the number of crashes on our roads,'' she concluded. For some, roadside memorials are unbearable.
Tannum Sands mother Kath-leen Pollard believes roadside memorials shouldn't exist. Speaking publicly for the first time since her daughter's death in a car accident on the Bruce Highway at Benaraby in June last year, Mrs Pollard said there were too many roadside memorials in the region.
"They are testament to the fact that we are not looking after our young drivers,'' she said.
"I will not be putting up a roadside memorial to Karla because I am too afraid to go to the site of the accident to do that.
"Her friends are going to put up a small cross at the site.'' Gladstone Police Inspector Rowan Bond said roadside me-morials did impact driver behaviour.
"But the impact is fairly immediate at the time the driver sees the memorial,'' he said.
"We have no research to indicate there is any long-term impact.''
Inspector Bond implored drivers to behave sensibly on the roads.
Calliope Shire Council adopted a policy for roadside memorials that allows the placement of short-term memorials of a simple white cross at a fatal accident site while Gladstone City Council has no formal policy on roadside memorials.