Qld road toll shock: 100 lives lost so far this year

 

A horror weekend on Queensland roads has tipped the state's death toll to 100, the worst start to a year in more than a decade.

The shocking milestone has prompted an urgent plea from one of the state's top cops, Acting Chief Superintendent Ray Rohweder, who said the figure was both "concerning" and "heartbreaking".

100 people have lost their lives on Queensland roads so far this year. It is a significant spike since last year, where 78 fatalities were recorded in the same period.

"It's been many, many years since we've had 100 lives lost this time of the year, it's just horrible," Acting Chief Supt Rohweder said.

"It's been at least a decade, but probably longer."

The devastating statistic comes after a shocking weekend on Queensland roads, where four deaths have been recorded since Friday.

Melissa Richardson, 30, from Chinchilla lost her life after a car she was travelling in collided with a school bus on the Warrego Highway near Roma.

She was a mother to five young children.

Melissa Richardson identified as victim of school bus crash on Warrego Highway

Community members are raising money for Melissa Richardson's family. Pic: Facebook
Community members are raising money for Melissa Richardson's family. Pic: Facebook

A GoFundMe page has been created to support her kids, and cover funeral expenses for her family.

"Her young life was cut way too short," the page reads.

"Her beautiful young children now have no Mother. An absolute tragedy."

The horrifying crash also left the driver of the car, a 37-year-old Western Downs woman, in a critical condition, and 16 schools students on the bus with minor injuries.

A 67-year-old man from Emerald lost his life in a crash involving two road trains on the Carnarvon Highway north of Roma. A 78-year-old cyclist died after veering into the path of a vehicle on the Wide Bay Highway near Kilkivan, and a 46-year-old woman died in a crash at Storm King.

RACQ spokeswoman Lauren Ritchie said the road toll was a "significant increase".

"Last year we were concerned during COVID, we were the only state in Australia to have seen an increase in road toll last year, and we thought that was a big enough wake up call for Queensland drivers, but sadly it hasn't been," she said.

The female driver of the car which collided with a school bus was flown to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane with critical injuries. Picture: RACQ LifeFlight
The female driver of the car which collided with a school bus was flown to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane with critical injuries. Picture: RACQ LifeFlight

"To reach 100 at this point of time in the year is not a good trajectory if we continue at this rate. It's the worst road toll we've seen for a very long time, which is very concerning."

Acting Chief Supt Rohweder told The Courier-Mail of the devastating toll road fatalities have on emergency services and the families left behind.

"For all the first responders, police, QAS, QFES, it's a toll that continues to chip away at you," he said.

"We need to remember these aren't statistics, these are lives lost.

"This 100 isn't a number, it is 100 people that are no longer with us today. I think we get a bit caught up sometimes thinking of it as a number, it is not a number, it is lives lost."

He said it's a devastating reality that families have to deal with for the rest of their lives.

The road toll of 100 came just one day before National Road Safety Week 2021 began, which will run until May 23.

Acting Chief Supt Rohweder asks drivers to think about what they're doing, drive to the conditions and remember the fatal five: speeding, drink and drug driving, distractions, fatigue and seat belts.

Originally published as Qld road toll shock: 100 lives lost so far this year



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