After a shocking month during April with at least 20 people killed on Australian roads over the Easter weekend, May 2021 delivered better news with the Federal Government boosting their investment in the Federal Budget to improve our road safety, explains Attwood Marshall Lawyers Compensation Law Senior Paralegal, Sue Davidson.
Statistics show us that further investment in our infrastructure is critical to reduce the amount of accidents that happen every year on Australian roads. Road deaths are tragic but, in most cases, avoidable. The federal and state governments are doing what they can to improve our road conditions, however, we all have a part to play in road safety. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, it can be lifechanging for you and your family. In this article we review the statistics showing how many Australians have been impacted by motor vehicle accidents, and what the Federal Budget will hopefully do to improve the issue.
Road Safety Statistics
Queensland Road Crash Report: Deaths on Queensland Roads
During 1 January 2021 to 23 May 2021 there were 100 fatalities as a result of crashes within Queensland, which is 16.4% greater than the same period for the previous year and 15.7% greater than the previous five-year average for the same period.
Fatalities: Year to date to Sunday 23 May 2021
Total fatalities: 100
Driver fatalities: 41
Passenger fatalities: 20
Motorcycle or moped fatalities: 29
Bicycle rider fatalities: 3
Pedestrian fatalities: 7
Fatalities involving heavy freight vehicles: 17
Casualties on Queensland Roads
During 1 January 2020 to 30 November 2020, there were 6,308 hospitalised casualties as a result of crashes within Queensland, which is 2.6% fewer than the same period for the previous year and 4.6% greater than the previous five-year average for the same period.
The Federal Budget Infrastructure Investment
Motor vehicle injuries and deaths occur every year and impact thousands of Australian lives.
As at April 2021, there was a total of 1,127 road deaths nationally, calculating to an annual fatality rate of 4.4 per 100,000 Australians. That’s 1,127 too many deaths on our roads causing lifelong consequences for the families and loved ones of those left behind.
As part of the 2021-2022 Federal Budget, an additional $1 billion has been allocated to the existing Road Safety Program, as part of the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to improving road safety and getting Australians home quickly and safely.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the $1 billion funding injection will back two additional six-month tranches, extending the program from June 2022 to June 2023.
“This investment builds on the previous $2 billion over 18 months announced for the Road Safety Program as part of last year’s Budget, as well as the $500 million Targeted Road Safety Works initiative announced in June 2020,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“Now totalling $3 billion, the Road Safety Program continues our commitment to reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads, because we know one death or serious injury is one too many”.
This additional funding will improve lifesaving road safety treatments. State highways and arterial roads are being upgraded through the application of road safety treatments including shoulder sealing and the installation of rumble strips, to support the safe return of vehicles from the shoulder into the travel lane; physical barriers to prevent run off road crashes; and median treatments to prevent head-on vehicle collisions.
Rural and regional roads will have greater protection for vulnerable road users including cyclists and pedestrians in urban areas. Safety upgrades include traffic calming, separated cycleways, and the installation of raised pedestrian crossings helping to reduce the daily trauma caused on our roads.
The impact a motor vehicle accident can have on your life
Road safety is everyone’s concern and responsibility. We know that road safety impacts not just motor vehicle drivers but also passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, motorbike riders, and public transport passengers.
A pedestrian injured by a motor vehicle
Sadly in 2020, statistics showed us that pedestrian fatalities in Queensland had more than doubled on the previous year. These statistics were particularly alarming given the fact that there was significantly less traffic across the state during the peak of the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Most injuries that arise from an adult pedestrian colliding with a car includes trauma to the head and neck, legs and pelvis, as well as fractures and ligamentous injuries to the knees. Brain injuries are also common.
Given the mismatch between a car and a pedestrian, the Courts have long held that there is a very high duty of care owed by motorists to pedestrians, no matter where the two interact. For example, many people think that if you are hit by a car and you are not on a pedestrian crossing, the pedestrian is at fault. Nothing could be further from the truth! In most cases, even where pedestrians walk out in front of vehicles, there is usually some liability attaching to the driver of the vehicle. If you are involved in a pedestrian accident, please make sure you get some legal advice – you will probably be eligible to make a compensation claim.
A cyclist injured by a motor vehicle
Thousands of cyclists are injured while riding their bikes every year. Infrastructure is slowly improving for cyclists, but despite greater awareness on road safety for motorists sharing the road with cyclists, and laws to help protect cyclists, the risks are still significant and cyclists can experience a wide range of injuries if they collide with a motor vehicle.
When a cyclist and motor vehicle collide, usually the only party physically injured is the cyclist. Such a collision can have devastating results. For those that survive, injuries sustained can be extremely serious and have long-lasting effects. Some of the most common injuries seen by hospitals include head injuries, broken pelvis, broken legs, broken ribs, fractured collarbones, broken backs, broken shoulders, brain injuries, cuts and lacerations, as well as internal injuries such as liver and spleen lacerations, just to name a few.
Recovery times vary and when you suffer a significant injury as a result of a cycling injury, recovery usually takes months and years. If you are severely injured in a cycling accident, it can change your life overnight and impact your ability to financially support yourself and your family.
Likewise, with cyclists, the mismatch between them and vehicles is stark – there is a high duty of care owed by fellow vehicle drivers which is similar to that owed to a pedestrian.
Drivers and passengers of motor vehicles (this list is not exhaustive)
Whiplash is a neck injury that happens as a result of a forceful rapid back and forth movement of the neck. A whiplash injury commonly occurs in rear-end car accidents. Most whiplash injuries improve within a few weeks following a treatment plan including medication, physiotherapy and prescribed exercises, however in some cases, people who suffer a whiplash injury can develop chronic neck pain and other long-lasting complications which can last months or years after their car accident. It can be difficult to predict how someone may recover from whiplash. You may be more likely to have long-lasting complications or develop chronic pain if your initial symptoms were intense. You may also have a higher risk of long-term effects if you have previously had a whiplash injury, are older in age, have existing low back or neck pain, or if your injury was sustained at a high-speed.
Neck, Back and Spine Injuries
Neck, back and spine injuries are some of the most common injuries people sustain in motor vehicle accidents and generally are the leading causes for delaying people from being able to return to work or their regular activities. Neck, back and spine injuries can cause lifelong problems and impact breathing, mobility and your overall health and wellbeing.
High-speed accidents can often leave victims with fractures and broken bones. Common fractures can be those that impact the legs, ribs, and arms. Fractures require specialist attention and if not aligned properly can cause lifelong issues. There is risk of paralysis if a fracture is not treated appropriately immediately or if a motor vehicle accident victim is not dealt with in a safe way following their accident.
Fractures can also result in internal bleeding and can lead to loss of limbs or vital organs if not treated immediately. In serious accidents, people can die from internal bleeding.
If you are involved in a car accident that deploys your airbags, you may suffer friction burns from your seatbelt or burns as a result of your airbag being activated.
Lacerations can happen as a result of a number of events such as windscreens shattering, seatbelt lacerations, airbags being deployed, or coming into contact with sharp objects inside or outside your vehicle upon impact of a car accident. These types of injuries can range from minor to serious. Lacerations may require surgery and the healing process can be lengthy.
Attwood Marshall Lawyers are here to help you if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident
Whether you are a driver, passenger, pedestrian, cyclist, or motorbike rider, if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by someone else, you can claim compensation which can help you on your road to recovery and provide you with financial security. We can help you every step of the way throughout your compensation claim.
We have seen far too many motor vehicle fatalities and serious accidents in recent years. When the worst happens out there on our roads, there is support you can access. Attwood Marshall Lawyers have a dedicated team of lawyers who specialise in this area of law and practice exclusively in personal injury claims.
It is important to speak to a lawyer as early as possible if you have sustained an injury in a motor vehicle accident. In most cases, it can be difficult to understand the gravity of your injuries and the long-term impact they may have on your life. This can be especially the case when you are in shock.
We offer a No Win, No Fee guarantee for all motor vehicle accident compensation claims so that you do not have to worry about any upfront costs and you can get yourself on the road to recovery and get the treatment you need as quickly as possible.
Contact our Compensation Law Department any time to discuss your circumstances by calling 1800 621 071 or you can book an appointment online with one of our Compensation Lawyers for a free, no-obligation initial appointment.
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