Fraser Coast speeders rack up $960k in fines
A HERVEY Bay hoon was caught driving at 43kmh over the speed limit in a 100kmh zone, an investigation can reveal.
Police statistics released through Right to Information laws show the Fraser Coast's worst speeder in the 2015-16 financial year was clocked at 143kmh in a 100kmh zone at Hervey Bay.
The case was one of 5400 speeding offences police detected over the 12 months - which cost Fraser Coast motorists about $960,000 in fines.
Most fines, 4548, were sent to drivers doing less than 13kmh over the limit.
A further 752 fines were to motorists driving 13-20kmh over the limit and 85 fines went to people caught 21-30kmh over the limit.
Police issued 13 fines to drivers doing 31-40kmh over the limit and two fines went to drivers caught more than 40kmh over the limit.
Those fines cost drivers a total of $963,680 that could have gone into the local economy. That's enough to buy 689 new ultra-high definition TVs, 25,393 cartons of XXXX Gold stubbies, or feed 6257 average Fraser Coast households for a week.
But it is the physical cost of dangerous driving that a leading Wide Bay emergency doctor sees all too often.
Bundaberg Hospital emergency department clinical director Terry George said although fatal crashes got the most attention, those that caused severe injuries could be life-changing.
"Lives are changed instantly, completely and permanently. Losing a loved one without warning and without good reason is a massive blow that many people will not recover from," he said.
"Others suddenly have their life transformed to living with a permanent severe disability or caring for loved ones with a permanent severe disability."
Dr George said car crashes were the most common cause of trauma and something that can "affect the community".
"Please take care on the roads. You don't want to meet me as a result of a car crash and face the life-changing consequences that can be the result," he said.
Leading road safety expert Rebecca Ivers said managing speeds and improving road quality were vital to making roads safer.
"Safety gains on highways can be made by managing speed, better road quality and safer cars. In rural regions people are often travelling long distances on lower quality roads in less safe cars," she said.
National road user body Australian Automobile Association has called for a national inquiry into road safety after a report found 42,000 people were seriously injured on Australian roads each year.
"At a time when new vehicles and roads have never been safer, we need to understand why 40 years of road safety improvement appears to be at risk of being reversed," the AAA said.
"Such an inquiry is an important, urgent, and low-cost step the government can take towards reducing the human suffering, and the billions in annual economic costs caused by road crashes."
Our leadfoot habit
Less than 13kmh over: 4548 fines
13-20kmh over: 752 fines
21-30kmh over: 85 fines
31-40kmh over: 13 fines
More than 40kmh over: 2 fines
*2015-16 financial year