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Road Safety Action Plan for the Peak Downs Highway


Key Leadership Team

The Peak Downs Day of Action for Road Safety, on May 18, 2012, has helped identify the critical actions that can help save lives on the Peak Downs Highway. The responsibility for implementation and ongoing monitoring of the plan will require the ongoing commitment of all of the Peak Downs Highway Road Safety Alliance members.

The Pillar Leaders involved in the day commit to providing ongoing leadership and accountability for implementation of the plan. Key contacts are provided below.

Peak Downs Highway Action Plan Leadership

Mackay Road Accident Action Group (RAAG)
Lindsay Birch –

Pillar 1: Road Safety ManagementLocal Leader
Colin Edmonstone –
Department of Transport and Main Roads

33900 Support

Jeff Potter –
National Transport Commission
Pillar 2: Safer Roads

Local Leader
Ian Husband –
Department of Transport and Main Roads
33900 Support
Rob McInerney –
Pillar 3: Safer VehiclesLocal Leader
Lee Crump –
QR National
33900 Support
Steve Spalding
Pillar 4: Safer Road UsersLocal Leader
Peter Flanders – .a
Queensland Police Service
33900 Support
Kerry Armstrong –
Pillar 5: Post-crash ResponseLocal Leader
Noel Lang –
Vice Chairman RAAG
33900 Support
Dr Daryl Wall –
Royal Australian College of Surgeons


In the five years to the end of 2009, 243 people have been injured in road crashes on the Peak Downs Highway between Clermont and Mackay, with 14 people losing their lives and 71 hospitalised. The traffic demand on this important link to the resource-rich Bowen and Galilee Basins is expected to more than double over the next 10 years as existing mines expand and more than 16 new mines open in the region. Coal tonnage is expected to grow from current levels of 65 mega-tonnes per annum to an estimated 550 mega-tonnes per annum. The movement of people and freight to meet this growth will expand at a rapid rate. Without aggressive action to improve road safety the level of death and injury will also grow at a rapid rate and that is not acceptable.

In Australia, 33,900 people are killed or seriously injured in road crashes on average each year. That is four people killed and 90 people seriously injured every day. Worldwide, 3,500 people are killed and 100,000 seriously injured every day on our roads. In recognising the scale of this global epidemic, the United Nations has declared 2011-2020 the Decade of Action for Road Safety. Australia is a signatory to the resolution and has a responsibility to take significant action within Australia and to contribute to improvement throughout the Asia Pacific Region and the world.

Road safety is a shared responsibility. Every person and organisation using the road has an obligation to act safely, but also government has a responsibility to provide a safe road system. The Australian National Road Safety Strategy outlines key actions that provide focus at the national level, with many priorities equally relevant for the Peak Downs Highway.

As part of the Decade of Action, a one day workshop was held in Mackay on Friday 18 June 2012, where the focus was on one thing: how can we save lives on the Peak Downs Highway? Led by the Mackay Road Accident Action Group, in partnership with 33900: The Australian Road Safety Collaboration, the workshop brought together local experts and agencies together with 33900 experts in each pillar of the UN Decade of Action. The event was attended by a broad cross section of invited local stakeholders, including the Federal Member for Dawson, George Christensen MP, the State Member for Mirani, Ted Malone MP, the entire Mackay Regional Council and other regional council representatives. Also represented at a senior level were the mining, agriculture, tourism and road transport industries, RACQ, emergency services and government agencies such as Transport and Main Roads, Health and the Motor Accident Insurance Commission.

The Peak Downs Highway Plan for the Decade

The plan that follows highlights the main outcomes of the day and the agreed actions to make positive changes across all five pillars of the Decade of Action. With coordinated and accelerated action across the Peak Downs Highway we can respond before the growth in traffic and economic activity on the road leads to unprecedented death and injury. With local experts, local energy, local action, and with national and global support, we can take the Peak Downs Highway from a ticking time bomb to a showcase by 2020. Zero harm on the Peak Downs Highway is our vision.

Peak Downs Highway Action Plan Organisations

Organisation Index
ANCAP Australasian New Car Assessment Program
ACRS Australasian College of Road Safety
ARRB ARRB Group. [originally, Australian Road Research Board]
Anglo Coal Anglo American Australia Coal
AusRAP Australian Road Assessment Program
Autocorner Autocorner Pty Ltd. Mackay
BMA BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance
BMC BHP Billiton Mitsui Coal
BHP BHP Billiton
CARRS-Q Centre for Road Accident Research and Road Safety-Queensland
CQU Central Queensland University of Technology
DEEDI Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation
iRAP International Road Assessment Programme
IRC Isaac Regional Council
MAIN Mackay Area Industry Network Cooperative Ltd
MAIC Motor Accident Insurance Commission
MRC Mackay Regional Council
MTAQ Motor Traders Association Queensland
NTC National Transport Commission Australia
PDHRSA Peak Downs Highway Road Safety Alliance
QPS Queensland Police Service
QRN QR National Limited
RAAG Road Accident Action Group Inc
RACQ Royal Automobile Club of Queensland
Sedgmans Sedgman Coal
TMR Department of Transport and Main Roads Qld
UCSR Used Car Safety Ratings
3M 3M Australia
33900 33900 -The Australian Road Safety Collaboration



























Pillar 1: Road safety management

Actions within this pillar framework seek to encourage the creation of multi-sectoral partnerships and designation of lead agencies with the capacity to develop and lead the delivery of national road safety strategies, plans and targets, underpinned by the data collection and evidential research to assess countermeasure design and monitor implementation and effectiveness.

The Australian National Road Safety Strategy vision is that “No person should be killed or seriously injured on Australia’s roads.” Road safety is a shared responsibility. Achieving lasting change in road safety will require governments, industry and the broader community to work together. It will also require significant improvements in the way governments and other organisations manage the safety of our road transport system.

Road Safety Management




Lack of coordination across agencies in the management of road safety delivery on the Peak Downs Highway Establish a Peak Downs Highway Road Safety Alliance (PDHRSA) based on the successful Western Australia South West Road Safety Alliance.Membership to include: TMR (Regional Director of Program Development & Operations, Mackay/ Whitsunday Region); Local Councils (Deputy Mayor level); Police (District Officer level); RAAG; MAIN Group; Industry (Mining, Contractors, Heavy Vehicle); 33900 representative. TMR (Transport Services, Central Region)
and BHP Billiton
Refine role of the PDHRSA to encompass:

  • Aspirational process goal – safety as the highest priority in transport decision-making, as opposed to capacity and amenity etc.
  • Aspirational outcome goal – no deaths or serious injuries on the PDH.
  • Leadership.
  • Coordination.
  • Information sharing.
  • Prioritising actions from other pillars using evidence based decision-making (involvement of a Technical Reference Group).
  • Developing an Action Plan for the Alliance.
  • Setting KPIs based on Alliance priorities.
  • Monitoring progress (both intermediate and long-term outcomes).
Review terms of reference of Western Australian model for discussion at first meeting. Western Australian reps to play a mentoring role for the Peak Downs Highway Road Safety Alliance. First meeting before 30 August:

  • TMR (Transport Services, Central Region) to coordinate.
  • BMC to meet prior with local mining companies (x 5) to gauge level of commitment and appropriate representation.
Lack of funding to undertake road safety delivery on the Peak Downs Highway PDHRSA to explore innovative funding options for road safety improvements across all five pillars (e.g.. ‘user pays’ toll, automated speed camera revenue channeled back into the PDH, users funding additional police hours). RAAG, PDRSA
Advocacy for commitments re: increasing police personnel RAAG, PDRSA
“Royalties for Regions” group to develop strategies and secure funding for the region Anglo Coal, 3M, Isaac Regional Council, Road Pilots Association
Link with Safer Roads Pillar to secure major road upgrade funding commitments
No specific targets for Peak Downs Highway safety PDRSA to introduce new safety performance targets for the overall safety outcomes on the PDH, including:

  • Vision for Zero Harm on the Peak Downs Highway to align with mining related safety visions in the region
  • Elimination of any section with AusRAP high and medium–high crash rates per km travelled by 2020
  • Agreement of pillar specific performance targets for all other pillars
Huge growth in traffic, freight and over-dimensional vehicles expected as 16 new mines open in the area PDHRSA study group to be formed to influence traffic demand and mode choice for the highway, looking specifically at road versus rail versus bus and regional housing. RAAG, QR, Greyhound and Qld Health
Group to engage with DEEDI and the 2031 Regional Development Agencies to ensure safety outcomes are factored into infrastructure development decisions in the region. RAAG, PDHRSA leaders
Wide load and fatigue management along the road requires improvement RAAG to continue its work on rest areas and secure funding for necessary sites. RAAG
Project to identify breakdown areas and rest pads for heavy vehicles to be undertaken TMR (Program Development & Operations and Transport Services, Central Region), Nebo Communities, RAAG, QPS, Rio Tinto – as part of RASP project
RAAG to continue engagement at state level for improved wide load management. RAAG

Pillar 2: Safer roads and mobility

Actions within this pillar framework seek to raise the inherent safety and protective quality of road networks for the benefit of all road users, especially the most vulnerable, e.g. pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. This will be achieved through the implementation of road infrastructure assessment and improved, safety-conscious planning, design, construction and operation of roads.

The Australian National Road Safety Strategy strategic focus is for “Roads and roadsides designed and maintained to reduce the risk of crashes occurring and to lessen the severity of injury if a crash does occur. Safe roads prevent unintended use through design and encourage safe behavior by users” (refer page 47-56 of the National Strategy). Safe speeds are also a focus with “speed limits complementing the road environment to manage crash impact.




No specific targets for Peak Downs Highway on the safety of road infrastructure TMR to introduce new safety performance targets for the PDH, including:

  • Eliminate AusRAP 1 & 2 star road sections by 2020.
  • Safer road sides by 2020 (eliminate or protect obstructions/hazards).
  • Safer road cross sections by 2020 (wider/seal shoulders, pull off areas).
  • Safer overtaking opportunities by 2020.
  • Safer intersection and property access by 2020.
TMR (Program Development & Operations and Transport Services, Central Region), RACQ
Insufficient funding for infrastructure PDHRSA and Safer Roads delegates to present business case for upgrades within the Walkerston area and Eton Range to Federal and State Governments (Premier, DEEDI) to secure funding for initiatives . RAAG, PDHRSA, iRAP, RACQ
Secure longer term funding for roadside and overtaking improvements from Eton to Clermont and intersection upgrades / rationalisation from Eton to Mackay.
Insufficient monitoring, remedial action, before and after evaluations and celebration of life-saving interventions Update AusRAP risk maps immediately and on an annual basis.Prepare an AusRAP star rating and investment plan for the Peak Downs Highway by December 2012. RACQ, TMR (Program Development & Operations and Transport Services, Central Region)
More detailed analysis of crash records to identify priority remedial treatments and maximise safe upgrades in current flood reconstruction works. TMR (PD&O and Transport Services, Central Region), university sector, QPS, ARRB
Identify roadside hazard improvements and overtaking improvements for the entire corridor and implement immediate priorities. TMR (PD&O Mackay/ Whitsunday Region), ARRB, RACQ
Engage the university sector to undertake ‘before and after’ evaluations of projects. TMR (PD&O and Transport Services, Central Region), university sector, CARRS-Q
Quality of signs, linemarking and road surface is variable along the length of the road Immediate review (day, night & wet) of signs and lines to be undertaken and an immediate action plan to be developed and implemented. MR (PD&O, Mackay/ Whitsunday Region), RACQ, 3M, Road Pilots Association
Immediate black spot treatment for skid resistance at Fiery Creek (scheduled for June 2012) TMR (PD&O, Mackay/ Whitsunday Region)

Pillar 3: Safer vehicles

Actions within this pillar framework seek to encourage universal deployment of improved vehicle safety technologies for both passive and active safety through a combination of harmonisation of relevant global standards, consumer information schemes and incentives to accelerate the uptake of new technologies.

The Australian National Road Safety Strategy strategic focus is for “Vehicles which not only lessen the likelihood of a crash and protect occupants, but also simplify the driving task and protect vulnerable users. Increasingly this will involve vehicles that communicate with roads and other vehicles, while automating protective systems when crash risk is elevated.” (refer page 71-78 of the National Strategy).

Safer Vehicles




Knowledge of vehicle safety poor in the purchase of new or used vehicles and in the hire of rental vehicles PDHRSA employers to promote vehicle safety to all employees through the use of ANCAP, UCSR and specific details on safety technologies and performance, e.g.’ ESC, air bags. RACQ, PDHRSA, All companies, ANCAP
Promote use of 5 star rental vehicles through agreements with all major hire companies in the region. RAAG, RACQ, ANCAP
Auto dealers to provide better information on new and used vehicle safety performance to prospective buyers and at the point of sale. RACQ, ANCAP, Auto-corner and other dealers
Better promotion of vehicle safety to the Mackay region. RACQ, ANCAP, TMR (Marketing & Comms)
ANCAP to advocate for permanent marking of safety rating on new vehicles e.g. on compliance plates. ANCAP
New vehicle supply is not yet all 5 star and affordability can be a barrier to upgrading.Existing vehicle maintenance and impact of after-market modifications on safety



Work with insurers to provide discounts on safety technologies (CTP and general insurance). MAIC, RACQ, MTAQ, Auto Corner
Work with governments to provide incentives for 5 star cars,e.g., lower stamp duty and/or tariffs. RACQ, ANCAP
Work with manufacturers to commit to “5 star vehicle only” policies with an interim policy of ‘4 star with extra safety features’ pending 5 star availability. ANCAP, PDHRSA fleet buyers, Auto Corner and other dealers, RACQ
Improved consumer messaging and enforcement of vehicle road worthiness in the region. QPS and TMR (Transport Services – Compliance), RACQ
Poor speed compliance and inappropriate driving behavior / distractions can be addressed with existing and new vehicle safety technologies (e.g. intelligent speed adaptation) Provide details on heavy vehicle fleet technologies available for transport operators in the region. TCA, RAAG
Investigate the effectiveness of in-car driver monitoring and assistance aids and encourage employers to subsidize technologies for fleet and employee vehicles. QRN, PDHRSA, RAAG

Pillar 4: Safer road users

Actions within this pillar framework seek to develop comprehensive programmes to improve road user behaviour. They particularly focus on sustained or increased enforcement of laws and standards, combined with public awareness/education to increase seat-belt and helmet wearing rates, and to reduce drink-driving, speed and other risk factors.

The Australian National Road Safety Strategy strategic focus is to “Encourage safe, consistent and compliant behaviour through well-informed and educated road users. Licensing, education, road rules, enforcement and sanctions are all part of the Safe System.” (refer page 79-94 of the National Strategy). In relation to speed the focus is on “all road users complying with the
speed limits” (refer page 57-70 of the National Strategy).


Safer Road Users




Many drivers underestimate actual travel times,e.g., they expect a two-hour drive between Mackay and Moranbah when it is really three hours or more TMR to provide current travel time information via its website, as well as disseminating through general and social media, airlines and rental car companies. TMR (Marketing & Comms), RAAG
Organisations to include drive time as part of their ‘fit to work/drive’ policies. ALL Stakeholders
The safety of wide load movements and their impact on the safety of other road users Progress the development of a database system for recording wide load permits and the movement of all wide loads to be easily accessible, e.g., QPS Facebook, RACQ travel information. QPS, TMR (Permits Section), RACQ, university sector (PhD potential)
The divisibility of wide loads to be encouraged and legislative requirements to be reviewed,e.g., against NSW practice. QPS & TMR (Heavy Vehicle Freight Unit), McAleese and individual freight companies
Expand the distribution of existing video on safe wide load movement. RAAG, QPS, PDHRSA
Companies to develop and share safety policies in relation to wide load movements and consider the appropriate adjustment of schedules where safety benefits exist. Sedgmans, RAAG, PDHRSA
Lack of police services in the area (e.g., only one QPS officer between Eton and Moranbah) and enforcement against the ‘fatal five’. Increased lobbying to secure additional QPS officers and support QPS, CARRS-Q
Increase enforcement activities along the road with a specific focus on high crash risk time (Friday & Sunday) and high traffic demand periods. QPS
Development of enforcement and behavioral interventions targeting speeding, fatigue, seat belts, drink-driving and distraction. QPS, CARRS-Q, TMR Transport Services), RAAG
Lack of family risk management outlook Develop, implement and share family risk management plans across all PDH stakeholders. Sedgmans, PDHRSA companies
Promote and secure a pledge by management, workers and commercial vehicle operators to road safety. Sedgmans, PDHRSA companies
Peer assessment of road user attitudes and driver safety to be promoted among all work-groups in the region. Sedgmans, PDHRSA companies, CARRS-Q
Development of a home/work risk management awareness program. Sedgmans
Lack of corporate safe driving policies and practices Companies to integrate the principles of the ISO 39001 Road Traffic Safety Management global standard when it is released late 2012 into their HS&E policies and practices. Sedgmans, PDHRSA companies, QPS, RACQ, MAC Engineering
Companies to develop and share safe driving policies Sedgmans, PDHRSA companies


Pillar 5: Post crash response

Actions within this pillar framework seek to increase responsiveness to post-crash emergencies and improve the ability of health and other systems to provide appropriate emergency treatment and longer term rehabilitation for crash victims.


Post Crash Response




Need for improved coordination and strategic planning of post-crash response in the region across all relevant agencies and industry stakeholders Convening of a dedicated post-crash response group to improve coordination and strategic planning for resources and to ensure a single voice for improved advocacy. Dept of Community Safety, Qld Health, QPS, CQ Rescue
Information barriers are adversely affecting the timeliness of emergency response to crashes on the Peak Downs Highway, resulting in a higher than average chance of death and injury/disability Advocacy for improved phone coverage along the length of the highway. Qld Health, RAAG
Education package to be prepared and disseminated to PDHRSA members on crash notification and victim emergency response (e.g. 000 vs 112; information required by emergency services; location information and accuracy; and severity assessment). Dept of Community Safety, QAS, Qld Health, RFDS, RAAG
First aid training among PDHRSA members to include details on the essential first aid that can be rendered on the scene. St John, PDHRSA, Dept of Community Safety
Lack of emergency resources are adversely affecting the response to crashes on the Peak Downs Highway, e.g., two paramedics and volunteer SES along the road and only one QPS officer between Eton and Moranbah Review the availability of emergency resources and ability for life-saving response along the entire highway. Dept of Community Safety, Qld Health, CQ Rescue
Develop a business case that proves that the benefit outweighs the cost of emergency response service on the Peak Downs Highway. Qld Health, Dept of Community Safety
Secure additional and appropriate resources (e.g., government and/or industry) to improve the response to incidents on the highway (e.g., right people with the right training and the right equipment at the job as fast as possible). Qld Health, PDHRSA mining companies
Improve data collection, monitoring & dissemination to enable the planning & deployment of the right emergency & medical skills in response to a crash. Qld Health, Dept of Community Safety, CQ Rescue


Action, Action, Action

The plan will not save a life – actions will. The participants of the Peak Downs Highway Day of Action event have all committed their effort, energy and organisations’ support for the actions that are needed. The Pillar Leaders have committed to regular action update meetings that will ensure progress and monitoring of outcomes. RAAG will continue to take the leadership for the overall initiative and any updates on progress or further ideas for action can be forwarded to:

Graeme Ransley
The Road Accident Action Group

Our thanks go to all the participants and pillar leaders who gave their time, expertise and energy to develop the plan and agreed to lead the various actions.

Our thanks also go to the sponsors who helped make the day happen.

Remember to join 33900 (www.33900.org.au/join) to keep in touch on the UN Decade of Action around the world.