One person is dead following an accident on the New England Highway, north of Warwick.
One person is dead following an accident on the New England Highway, north of Warwick. Jeremy Sollars

Man, 73, killed in highway crash

IN a horror start to the Christmas holiday period on our roads a 73-year-old man lost his life in a collision on the Cunningham Hwy north of Warwick.

The man, understood to be from Tenterfield in New South Wales, was travelling in a Suzuki Swift hatchback towards Warwick when his vehicle struck an oncoming two-door van heading north at 2.10pm.

The crash happened on the downhill section of Kelly's Hill, about a kilometre past the Allens Rd turn-off.

Initial reports from the scene suggested the deceased driver may have suffered a medical condition such as a heart attack but this is yet to be confirmed, with the man's name also yet to be released.

He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

Two occupants of the van involved in the collision were taken to Warwick Hospital where they were treated for their fortunately minor injuries, largely due to the vehicle's airbags which deployed on impact.

The van spun in the collision and ended up on the western verge of the highway, pointing back in the direction of Warwick.

Both sides of the highway were closed as Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) staff hastily deployed traffic control and signage.

Traffic banked up heavily in both directions, with the police diverting northbound highway traffic out of Warwick along Freestone Rd.

Most passenger vehicles held up in the vicinity of the accident turned around in their respective directions but heavy vehicles were forced to wait until forensic traffic police finished inspecting the scene and debris was removed from the road.

Police Media issued a statement at 4.40pm advising the highway had been reopened to all traffic.

Traffic Branch police have urged motorists to remember the "Fatal Four" as more people head onto the roads in the busy holiday period.

South East region Acting Inspector Karen Shaw said it was timely to remind all motorists to carefully plan their trips and drive to ensure they arrived safely.

The sad truth is the majority of fatal and injury traffic incidents could be avoided with the traditional "fatal four" causes of crashes still claiming lives on Queensland roads," she said this week.

A statewide Christmas road safety campaign will run until January 27 next year.

In other highway updates, a TMR spokeswoman said temporary speed reductions and single lane closures would be in place over short sections of the Cunningham Hwy today and tomorrow from Kalbar to Mount Edwards - including Aratula - between 8am and 4pm.

She said the closures would allow "pavement testing" to be carried out to determine wear and tear on the road as a result of last summer's wet weather.

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