POLL: Foreigners blamed for road accidents
INTERNATIONAL tourists are driving up Southern Downs road accident statistics.
APN research reveals the region sits at number 22 on the state's crash ladder. The ranking is based on the state's 78 council areas.
Queensland Government accident data collected from 2001-2013 shows there were 251,705 crashes across the state, 1837 of which happened in the Southern Downs council area.
The 10 worst areas were Brisbane City where there were 68,013 smashes; the Gold Coast with 25,475 accidents; the Sunshine Coast-Noosa region on 17,589; Moreton Bay with 16,874; Logan City with 14,413; Ipswich with 10,227; Townsville with 10,210 crashes; Toowoomba on 9976; Cairns with 9271; and Rockhampton-Livingstone region on 7156.
The Southern Downs is home to two of the state's busiest highways - the New England and the Cunningham. Hundreds of overseas tourists with little knowledge of Aussie driving conditions use them daily.
Mayor Peter Blundell said foreign drivers - especially fruit-picking backpackers - needed to be educated about how to navigate the region's roads safely.
"A major factor in the crash statistics on the Southern Downs is international drivers," Cr Blundell said.
"The issue is the increasing number of deaths and serious injuries resulting from fatal car crashes and accidents that directly involve foreign drivers, the majority of which are young.
"Over the last five years there have been three fatalities as a direct result of an offending international driver who, in almost all circumstances, is a backpacker.
"The council has consulted with both the Warwick and Stanthorpe Road Safety Action groups and is seeking to begin an awareness and education campaign to help curb these alarming statistics."
Road safety expert Dr Judy Fleiter said road users should remember that every time they got behind the wheel they could injure or kill someone.
"I don't think anyone wakes up and thinks 'I'm going to go out and kill somebody today on the road', but getting behind the handlebars of a motorbike or the wheel of a truck or a car, we all have the capability to do that," said the postdoctoral research fellow from the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety - Queensland.
"We hear about accidents every day, we drive past them on the side of the road, we see the ambulance attending but there's something about the human psyche that says it won't happen to me."
RACQ senior road safety adviser Joel Tucker said driving to the road conditions could mean the difference between life and death.
"Roads do contribute to crashes but not to the level that driver behaviour does," Mr Tucker said.
"If you've got a good road with nice wide shoulders, no trees to hit, then if a crash does occur and the driver does lose control, there's more opportunity for them to get out of that with a fairly minor level of damage or injury compared to a road environment that isn't well designed that can result in a more severe crash."
Has enough been done to cut the road toll on the Southern Downs?
This poll ended on 29 May 2015.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.