Young Drivers Make the ‘Brake’July 8th, 2008
An innovative young driver awareness program aimed at reducing the chances of young people being involved in a motor vehicle crash was launched in the Central Highlands this week.
High school teachers and community representatives from the region attended the Emerald launch of the BRAKE program, which will be introduced to senior school students in the Central Highlands and Coalfields over the next three years.
Regional BRAKE coordinator, Cathie Flint, said the program focused on developing good decision-making skills in young people as either drivers or passengers in vehicles. “BRAKE stands for Behaviour, Risk, Attitude, Knowledge and Education, so we aim to cover all of these aspects in a very interactive and challenging presentation,” Cathie explained. “It’s a community-based activity, and part of my role is to involve parents and other community members, who also play a vital role in keeping young people safe on our roads.”
She said the program would be free to students thanks to funding from the Mining Industry Road Safety Alliance (MIRSA) and the support of the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA).
One of the creators of the BRAKE program, Rob Duncan, also attended the Emerald launch.
“BRAKE has been well received following trials in south-east Queensland schools, and we are excited about spreading the word in Central Queensland,” he said. Rob said as a police officer, he had attended too many crashes involving young people, and was determined to do something about it. “Young drivers are significantly more likely to be involved in a road crash in the first few years after receiving their driver’s license. “This is a most worrying times for parents, as risks for young drivers relate not only to a lack of experience, but also to poor behaviours and flawed decision-making.
“With BRAKE, we are addressing these issues, and hope to make a real difference in reducing the involvement of our under-25s in motor vehicle crashes,” he said.
Further information: BRAKE Coordinator, Cathie Flint 0439 876 796
BRAKE founder, Rob Duncan 0438 306 644
Digital photo contributed: The Mining Industry Safety Alliance officially launched BRAKE – an innovative young driver road safety program in Emerald last week. Pictured from back (L-R) MIRSA Chairman Ian Dymock; BRAKE creators Rob Duncan and Steve Elliott and front row (L-R) BRAKE project officers Angela Tudehope; Cathy Flint and Delaney Nugent from the Qld Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA).
Operation Loose Loads 2007August 3rd, 2007
Secure it or loose it. That’s the message this month from the Road Accident Action Group (RAAG)
RAAG Chairman Senior Sergeant Noel Lang said although most people are aware of the consequences of not securing loads, they are often unaware of the potential hazards slipping around in the back of their own vehicles or trailers.
Each year people are killed on our roads either by being hit by objects which fly from vehicles, or attempting to avoid something which has just fallen from a vehicle.
Drivers who travel the Peak Downs highway would be aware of the two crosses on the side of the road near the entrance to Moranbah. They lost their lives by hitting an object which had fallen from the rear of the truck.
“An item as light as a PVC pipe can become a dangerous projectile in an accident,” he explained.
Driving on the Peak Downs Highway recently, members of RAAG picked up a 1.5m steel rod lying in the middle of the road.
“Running over an item like this rod will definitely cause damage to your car,” Noel said.
“But if it flicks up and comes through the windscreen then people can get serious hurt as well.”
Noel believes that most people would have come across litter lying all over the road that flew off from a trailer on a run to the dump.
“We usually express concern about the litter but this type of unsecured load also represents a potential accident.”
Noel believes most things that fall off the back of vehicles are the result of people not knowing how to tie items down properly.
“The best option is to seek assistance or be extra cautious and use more rope and tie more knots than you’d ever need.”
“Going overboard on the rope is better than your load going overboard onto the road – or onto someone else’s car.”
“Is better to lose one minute in life… than to lose life in a minute”
Driver checklist gets safety tickJune 20th, 2007
Central Queensland coal mining companies and vehicle rental groups have joined forces to promote improved road safety on regional highways.
The Mining Industry Road Safety Alliance (MIRSA) today launched in Mackay a Safe Driver Checklist that will be distributed through rental car companies operating from airports in Mackay, Emerald and Moranbah.
The safety checklist is in the form of a rear view mirror ‘hanger’ that urges drivers to take five minutes before they set out on their journey to consider the distances they intend to drive, ensure they are alert to the task of driving the distance and decide where and when they will take a rest break.
MIRSA coordinator, Ian Dymock, said that the involvement and support of rental car companies added another dimension to the road safety activities now being undertaken in the region.
“We intend to provide road users with constant reminders about the need to stay alert and act responsibly,” he said.
“The Safe Driver Checklist is one of a range of activities which includes highway poster messages, fatigue education sessions for mine employees, and better coordination of wide load movements on Bowen Basin roads.”
MIRSA is an alliance of coal mining companies and associated service and contractor organisations operating in the Central Queensland region, with a common goal to improve road safety on regional highways.
Vehicle rental companies participating in the Safe Driver Checklist promotion are Avis, Budget, Europcar, Four Wheel Drive Hire, Hertz, Mackay Car and Truck Rental, Network Rentals and Thrifty.
Your family loves you to pieces NOT in piecesJune 8th, 2007
RAAG Chairman Senior Sergeant Noel Lang said families and community have a role in getting loved one’s home in one piece, and we, as a community need to change this culture of driving tired.
“There are still way too many crashes caused by people driving tired and we can do something about it. As a family, work with your partners, help them plan their trip to ensure they make regular stops, and when they are coming home don’t push them to get home, encourage them to rest and take breaks”, he explained.
‘Every vehicle on our roads carries a precious cargo, that cargo is someone’s husband, wife, son, daughter or relative. It is imperative we look after this cargo and make sure it reaches the desired destination’, he explained Travelling throughout the District the Road Accident Action Group is regularly asked, “What else can be done to stop people driving tired?”
The answer is simple and we should all spread the message, don’t support it, don’t encourage it and most of all DON’T DO IT. If you know someone who is about to drive after a long day, or is about to drive a long distance, ask them, have they planned their trip? Have they scheduled regular breaks, or the most basic of all questions, are they right to drive? These are the things which as a community we can all do.
RAAG member Dawn Deakin lost her husband Trevor in a fatigue related crash in Easter 2004, even three (3) years after the event Dawn still struggles with the loss. “It is the most traumatic event I have ever had to deal with in my life, the grief, the denial and loss is all so difficult to express. I now fully understand how micro sleeps occur without warning, our loved ones fall to sleep at the wheel and what happens after this is nothing more then chance”, she explained.
What is disturbing is so many people continue to drive tried believing they can control their fatigue levels and not experience a micro sleep. The fact is you can’t, so when you start experiencing the signs, lake of concentration, yawing, sore eyes etc, it is time to STOP, REVIVE, SURVIVE.
“Is better to lose one minute in life… than to lose life in a minute”.
ROAD SAFETY CAMPAIGN ‘Lights On & Live’May 7th, 2007
‘Lights on and live’ is the message the Mackay Road Accident Action Group wants Central Queensland motorists to follow.
By leaving your headlights on anytime you travel in your vehicle, ‘could save your life’
RAAG spokesperson Senior/Sergeant Noel Lang said most drivers only turn their lights on during the day if there are overcast or rainy conditions, and they do this for safety. WHY NOT JUST LEAVE THEM ON??
“Many new vehicles have automatic settings and most cars have some sort of alarm system to help you remember to turn off the lights at the end of your trip,” he added.
“The Mackay area is so connected to the mining industry where many of the community travel our roads at either dawn or dusk. I am sure many of the motorists believe because they can see the road in front of them and their immediate surroundings, then their own vehicle must be as visible to other drivers,” he explained
“They are so wrong,” he added
“There’s not only more traffic on the road, there’s the added risk a fatigued driver may not be able to respond quickly enough to prevent a collision.”
QFRS Station Officer Dave Russo has over the years attended traffic crashes whereby drivers had simply not seen the other vehicle, whether because of poor visibility or the colour of the approaching vehicle made it difficult to see.
“It is so sad to arrive at a crash and hear drivers say ‘I didn’t see the other car’ and then to realize neither vehicle had their headlights on prior to the incident. Something as simple as having your headlights on could help prevent so many crashes,” he said
“When we travel long distances on holidays, it is a normal reaction for a lot of people to turn their headlights on because they know it improves safety, but as soon as they reach their destination or are back at home, they no longer consider it necessary to improve safety. I wish people would just turn them on and leave them on, I am sure it would save lives,” he added.
Senior/Sergeant Noel Lang poses the question, “When you next travel the highway, take note, which are more visible, cars with their lights on, or cars without?”
It’s so simple but it can make a big impact on road safety.
Noel Lang - Chairman - Road Accident Action Group
Premier’s AwardOctober 10th, 2006
An awareness initiative designed to reduce the number of fatigue-related motor vehicle accidents among mine shift workers has been named overall winner in the 2006 Queensland Road Safety Awards.
The Premier’s Award for Excellence in Road Safety was presented to the Mackay Road Accident Action Group and Mining Industry Road Safety Alliance at a Parliament House ceremony today.
Now in their seventh year the awards, co-sponsored by Queensland Transport, are a joint initiative of the RACQ and QUT’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q).
CARRS-Q director Professor Mary Sheehan said the awards were an important means of recognising and honouring the outstanding efforts of individuals and groups who, through innovative programs, persistent activism and sheer hard work, had developed programs to improve safety on Queensland roads.
“Since their inception the awards have consistently generated a high level of interest and this year we received 34 entries from throughout the state,” she said.
Congratulating the winners of the Premier’s Award, RACQ general manager for external relations, Gary Fites, said the Mackay Road Accident Action Group fatigue management team and Mining Industry Road Safety Alliance initiative was an excellent example of what could be achieved through the co-operation of government, communities and industry.
“They have joined forces to develop this initiative, which has done much to educate mine shift workers in Central Queensland about the dangers of driving while tired,” he said.
“So far this program has delivered its message to 3500 employees across the mining industry with some 95 percent of program participants expressing their determination to alter their driving behaviour as a result. This is a terrific outcome.”
The 2006 Queensland Road Safety Awards winners are:
· Road Accident Action Group (Fatigue Management Team)/Mining Industry Road Safety Alliance: The partnership won the Industry and Business category award and the overall Premier’s Award for its mining industry Fatigue Awareness program. The program, developed to increase awareness of the dangers of driving while tired among Central Queensland mining industry shift workers, includes employee education presentations and materials designed to maintain an ongoing awareness of the dangers of driver fatigue throughout mining work sites.
Funding Boost for Bowen Basin Road SafetyDecember 19th, 2005
Bowen Basin coal industry operators have agreed to join forces to pledge $700,000 for a comprehensive road safety program in the region.
The program includes a range of innovative educational and other activities, and will have a particular focus on the Peak Downs Highway between Mackay and Moranbah.
Coal mining companies and a number of associated service and contractor companies operating in the northern Bowen Basin have formed the Mining Industry Road Safety Alliance (MIRSA) to fund the activities of the established Road Accident Action Group (RAAG) who are committed to improving road safety in the Central Queensland region.
The various companies agreed to the commitment at a time when expansion of mining activities is resulting in substantially increased traffic flows on local highways and road systems.
Around $400,000 will be used in a campaign to educate mine employees and contractors throughout the Bowen Basin about fatigue risks on the region’s highways, and various activities such as innovative billboard and other safety message signs. The remaining $300,000 will be allocated to further agreed activities.
The funding will be directed through the established Mackay/Whitsunday Road Accident Action Group (RAAG), a community-based organisation comprising government, industry and community representatives, which is already well underway with the development and implementation of programs to reduce incidents of road trauma.
RAAG Chairman, Senior Sergeant Noel Lang from Mackay Police, said the aim of the partnership was to work in a consultative manner with the mining industry to deliver agreed safety outcomes.
“We have already conducted fatigue awareness presentations at a number of Bowen Basin coal mines, where information provided has acted as a real wake-up call for many participants,” Sen. Sergt Lang explained.
“With the increased funding, our aim is to step up this part of the program to reach every mine employee and contractor working in the region by the end of 2006.”
Senior Sergeant Lang said there was a commitment from everyone involved to make a difference.
“When the mining companies, transport operators, equipment suppliers and emergency services join forces, you know they are serious about doing something positive for road safety in the region, and that’s really encouraging,” he said.
Companies involved in the road safety initiative include BMA Coal, Rio Tinto Coal, Xstrata Coal, G&S Engineering Services, Anglo Coal, Macarthur Coal, Peabody Energy, AMCI, Foxleigh Mining, and CVRD Australia. Supplier and contractor companies involved include Thiess, Leightons, Roche, Sedgmans, Terex, Continental Ace, ORIX and McAleese Transport.