Police say 2022 was a horror year on Far North Queensland roads, and 2023 is shaping up to go the same way.
There was a total of 34 road deaths last year; 20 people died in vehicles, nine on motorcycles, one cyclist, one motorised scooter and one pedestrian.
In the first five weeks this year, the Far North road toll has quickly risen to three fatalities on the Tablelands, leaving families, friends and the community reeling yet again.
It’s led to a road safety campaign by local police and the highway patrol, cracking down on motorists doing the wrong thing.
Over the weekend, officers issued 110 traffic infringement notices issued to motorists, including three for speeding in excess of 40km over the limit.
Other notices were issued for failing to wear seatbelts, driving without due care, fail to keep left, unnecessary noise and smoke.
One hundred motorists were given road side breath tests, and seven motorists were issued with warning notices for minor defects.
Among the offenders, the driver of a black ute was allegedly clocked going 106kph on the Gillies Highway, and was issued with traffic infringement notices for high speed, unnecessary noise/smoke and fail to keep left.
Police says say the driver of a white people mover crossed onto the wrong side of the road, and was fined for driving without due care and for four passengers failing to wear seatbelts.
Officer in Charge of the Cairns Highway Patrol, seniorsergeant Craig Johnson, says police and other emergency services attending serious injury and fatal crashes are often left to pick up the pieces of shattered lives.
“Sadly some people think our far northern roads are their own personal race track,” Senior Sergeant Johnson says.
“Whether it’s speed, no seatbelt, fatigue, drugs, alcohol or distraction, the consequences can be deadly and we make no apologies for disrupting errant driving behaviour.
“Our Highway Patrol officers across the far north will continue to conduct high visibility patrols, engagement, education and enforcement action in an effort to change bad diving habits on our roads.
“Ideally we’d like everyone to consider how their actions on the road affect their own family, friends, and the safety of others.”