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Lights on and live

The Lights on and Live program, an initiative of the Road Accident Action Group (RAAG) funded by Arrow Energy, will air on television and radio in Mackay and Moranbah again in February 2016. This project encourages drivers to turn on their headlights during the day to become more visible to other road users.  Daytime Running Lights (DRL) are being fitted as standard to many new vehicles.

Research has shown that driving with lights on during the day reduces crashes. Arrow is particularly supportive of this program especially given the number of road accidents on the Peak Downs Highway, between Moranbah and Mackay.

Arrow has done a lot of work in managing the road safety of its own staff with real-time driver monitoring, our journey management centre, comprehensive driver training and a no mobile phone use policy. Arrow has contributed to fund this campaign and will evaluate its success.

RAAG, a group of individuals from state government, industry, community and local government, applied for campaign funding under Arrow’s Brighter Futures community investment program. that Arrow has supplied funding for an expanded “Lights on and Live” campaign not only in the Bowen Basin but also in the Surat Basin.

International research says that putting your lights on during the day will make you between 15% and 17% safer on the road. Not only do headlights improve visibility but it has also been shown to reduce dangerous overtaking by oncoming traffic. In other  jurisdictions vehicle manufacturers have already embraced the daytime lights concept, and in several countries it has been made mandatory.

This  Arrow Energy backed campaign helps promotes the use of daytime headlights as this will reduce road crashes. A survey was conducted in 2014 of  all vehicles travelling  east bound on the  Peak Downs Highway East of Nebo, 51.5% driving with daytime headlights or DRL’s, survey conducted 3-4pm same day of west bound vehicles west of Nebo, 49.5% driving with daytime headlights or DRL’s.

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Susie Whitehead Memorial rest area

The project to fund and erect a lasting memorial to road safety advocate and community stalwart has been achieved.

Mayor Anne Baker will open the large specially procured shade shelter, complete with solar lighting, spectacular drink fountain, all funded by the Nebo community and donations from Isaac Regional Council, Rio Tinto, Walkerston Rotary, Freemasons, Civeo and local companies.

Jim Pearce MP will make a very special announcement that permission has been granted to name and sign the rest area as the Susie Whitehead Memorial Rest Area
Large permanent signage inside the roof of the shelter will recognise Susie and all involved in this project. One large sign with image of Susie has the following:

“In honour of Susie Whitehead our “Nebo Community Road Safety Warrior”.

Giver of love and laughter to the world, and a selfless people person. Susie was deeply involved with many community projects throughout her life. A member of the Nebo Community Development Group Inc, Susie was leader and media spokesperson for the Roadsafe Campaign developed to focus safety aspects and successfully received funding for the Peak Downs Highway.

To highlight fatigue awareness Susie coordinated the many 24 hour, 14 day Nebo Roadsafe September Rest-stops, manned by volunteers, supported by RAAG, mining companies and the whole community, combined with numerous core-flute crash site signs along the highway will be long remembered.

The generosity of Community, Council and Companies has enabled this rest area facility upgrade to honour Susie’s advocacy of safe driving and fatigue awareness and to be a constant reminder for road safety on this highway.

Friends of Susie, rest stop volunteers, truckies, mine workers, couriers, all who benefited from Susie’s amazing efforts are invited. Refreshments available.

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33900 Peak Downs Highway Decade of Action

The Peak Downs Tragedy 

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.  14 people lost their lives and 71 were hospitalised.  This level of death and injury is unacceptable.
The Global and Australian Road Death Epidemic   

33,900 people were killed or seriously injured in road crashes in Australia in 2010.  That is an average of 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.  Road crashes are the biggest killer of 10-24 year olds.

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 contribute to improvement throughout the Asia Pacific Region and the world.

The Mackay Road Accident Action Group  

The Mackay Road Accident Action Group (RAAG) is a group of individuals from state government, industry, community, and local government who by taking a holistic approach across the community in dealing with causal factors relating to road incidents have successfully developed and implemented programs which have been effective in reducing incidents of road trauma.

33900:  The Australian Road Safety Collaboration

33900: The Australian Road Safety Collaboration (www.33900.org.au) has been established to bring together road safety stakeholders in the non-government sector in Australia that are committed to making sure it is a Decade of Action in Australia.  The group has identified experts and interest groups across all five pillars of action identified by the United Nations: Road Safety Management, Safer Roads and Mobility, Safer Vehicles, Safer Road Users and Post-crash response.

The Peak Downs Showcase

With coordinated and accelerated action across the Peak Downs Highway we can respond before the growth in traffic and economic activity on the road lead to unprecedented death and injury.

We can treat death and injury as avoidable, not inevitable.

We can bring together the key players who already know what to do, remove any constraints for action and apply proven treatments on a scale that will make a difference.  We will save lives.  Local experts, local  energy, local action, national and global support.

We can take the Peak Downs Highway from ticking time bomb to showcase.

The Peak Downs Highway: Decade of Action for Road Safety

Lead by the Mackay Road Accident Action Group a one day workshop will be held in Mackay that will bring together local experts and agencies together with “33900” experts in each pillar of action.  The groups will focus on the development of a joint action plan across all five pillars to create a Decade of Action for Road Safety Plan for the Peak Downs Highway that will at least halve the death and injury on the road.  The event will be linked to state-wide events occurring in May to shine the spotlight on to the Queensland Road Safety Problem and need for action.

Click to View the Peak Downs: Day of Action for Road Safety Workshop

Click to View the Day of Action for Road Safety: Pillar Leader Background

Peak Downs Highway:  Decade of Action for Road Safety Supporters
Our thanks go to all of the participants in the Peak Downs Highway Day of Action that will lead to a Decade of Action for Road Safety.  Many have donated their time and expertise as we unite to save lives.
In particular we would like to thanks the event sponsors who have helped make it possible:

John Glanville – Dealer Principal of Auto Corner Pty Ltd.John has been in the position since 1993, growing the business to be currently the 10th largest Toyota Dealership in Australia, reaching Top 20 National status 4 times and Toyota President’s Award twice. His Motor Vehicle retail Industry experience spans many franchises and goes back some  30 years. He has been instrumental in the implementation of the very successful Rotary Youth Driver Awareness program in Mackay, as well as watching the safety development of Mining Specific vehicles over the years.

Steve Spalding – RACQ Executive Manager Technical & Safety PolicySteve has worked for RACQ in various technical and management roles for over 20 years and has more than 30 years automotive industry experience ranging from fleet operations through to developing technical and vehicle safety policy. Steve also represents RACQ on a broad range of automotive industry and motoring related matters. This involves working with key industry bodies and stakeholder groups at both the local and national level.  He also has expertise in ANCAP and the Used Car Safety Ratings.

Inspector Peter FlandersDistrict Inspector in the Mackay Police DistrictHe currently manages the areas of Crime and Operations that includes four Traffic Branches. Peter previously held the position of Regional traffic Coordinator in the North Coast Region where he was responsible for the development of traffic management strategies, traffic research, and funding allocations.  Peter is a committed road safety practitioner with a long history in motorcycle training, safety and policy development.

Dr Kerry Armstrong – Senior Research FellowCarrsQKerry has been actively involved in road safety analysis, initiatives, and research for the past 11 years and has an established national and international profile. Her research areas of interest include factors contributing to unlicensed and unregistered driving, understanding the phenomenon of fatigue, illegal street racing, drink driving, drug driving and safety culture in the heavy vehicle industry. Kerry is a registered psychologist and holds a PhD from Queensland University of Technology. She is currently the Chair of the Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS) in Queensland.

Dr Dale Hanson – Director of Clinical TrainingDale graduated from Flinders University of South Australia in 1982, initially pursuing a career in Family Medicine, and subsequently in Emergency Medicine. Since 1986 he has been working as Staff Emergency Physician at Mackay Base Hospital, in regional Queensland.  Concerned at the high rate of injury in the region, he developed an interest in injury research, safety promotion, and social network analysis, completing his Masters Degree in Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 2000 and subsequently his Doctorate in Public Health at James Cook University in 2007.  He was awarded a university medial for his doctoral dissertation “Community Safety Promotion Networks: From Metaphor to Methodology”.

Dr Daryl Wall – Chair of RACS Trauma CommitteeDr Daryl Wall graduated with MBBS first class honours and received theAlfred Hospital Graduates Award for first in Medicine.  He has fulfilled roles including the Chair of the Queensland Trauma Committee and Chair of the National Board Trauma Advisory Committee (RACS).  He was awarded the Order of Australia in 2006 for his contribution to the field of transplant surgery and specialist training and the RACS Gordon Trinca Medal in 2007 for services to the care of the injured.

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Shaded Tables At Rest Areas

TMR in Mackay has adopted the shade shelter design suggested by RAAG. This shelter design has been implemented, initially at the Waverly Creek Heavy Vehicle Rest Area, and at  other sites in the region. RAAG will continue to work on the improvement of shade shelters.

Shaded Tables at Rest Areas

It has long been recognized that there are insufficient shaded tables [structures] at rest areas. RAAG has been successful in its applications to TMR Road Safety for grants for these.  The east bound Heavy Vehicle shaded tables at Nebo have been funded by TMR while the westbound shelters have been funded by the Mackay combined fuel industry. An application has been submitted to TMR for funding for the upgrade of the existing motorist rest area which will be renamed the Susie Whitehead memorial rest area.

Designing Rest Areas

The aim of this section of this guide is to promote good practices for rest area design and upgrade activities. It is not intended to provide detailed design or technical information that may apply to specific sites, but rather present considerations that should be addressed during the design and construction of rest areas and also to provide examples of a range of options that may useful.

Every rest area will have a particular set of requirements defined by its location, road type and usage and many other local requirements. The importance of the knowledge and experience of local TMR officers, industry, and road users cannot be overstated. Each area should be carefully considered and should include appropriate public consultation to ensure all users needs are met.

Nevertheless, TMR has developed basic best practice designs upon which local design and engineering officers can base initial designs before moving to the more detailed design phases when developing new and upgraded sites.

Rest area best practice design

There are many factors that need to be addressed in the development of a successful rest area. In order to ensure that these are covered and integrated into a coherent approach, it is important that an overall concept is prepared. Urban designers can assist in preparing this concept design and should be involved in the whole design process.
Rest areas are designated locations within the road corridor that are accessible to drivers to allow them to take rest breaks, counter the effects of fatigue, and meet their fatigue management requirements. Appropriate rest areas enable drivers to increase the frequency, duration and quality of rest breaks. These considerations should be the primary focus of the design process.

Rest areas also provide places for heavy vehicle drivers to check their loads and vehicles, and fill in work diaries. Rest areas are not break-down or decoupling pads and should be used primarily for the purpose of enhancing fatigue management, and improving road safety outcomes. If there is a need for decoupling or other freight-related activities to occur, they should be clearly separated, preferably at a different location where the sleep of resting drivers will not be disturbed by excessive activity.

It should be remembered that, for heavy vehicle drivers, rest areas can potentially be considered a working area, and workplace health and safety considerations may apply. Driver safety, including safe access to amenities, is an important consideration during the design phase of construction.

The provision of a combined motorist and heavy vehicle rest area is sometimes appropriate to allow greater use of shared amenities and greater economies of scale. Motorists and heavy vehicle rest area users can share the facilities in combined rest areas. Wherever possible the motorist and heavy vehicle parking areas should be segregated to avoid internal traffic conflicts and to minimise disturbance between the two types of vehicle groups.

It is accepted that rest areas for heavy vehicle drivers have differing requirements to those provided for general motorists. Heavy vehicle rest areas should be primarily designed to allow heavy vehicle drivers to achieve adequate rest and overcome fatigue ahead of continuing their journey. If rest areas are overly noisy, poorly serviced, or are inaccessible to large vehicles, they will not fulfill their purpose. Good planning and design requires an integration of the strategic planning and the detailed design aspects of rest areas with the often long distance routes they service.

Locating and designing a rest area requires a collaborative approach involving road designers, urban designers, drivers, and industry representatives in the development of the details for each specific site.

Rest area layout
The final design of a rest area will be strongly influenced by the local conditions and the route on which it is placed. There is no single template design for rest areas, however there are common features. The most important consideration when designing a rest area is to ensure safety of movement within the site and to minimise potential conflicts between vehicle and pedestrian movements.

The circulation of vehicles in the rest area should minimise internal traffic conflicts. For example, good rest area layout design should ensure uni-directional flow of vehicles entering, parking and exiting the rest area. Rest areas should be designed so that reverse parking maneuvering of heavy vehicles is not required.

A landscape buffer zone is essential to separate the road from the rest area and provide a more restful space. Seven or eight meters is a desirable minimum width for this zone however this may not always be achievable in situations with limited corridor space. Nevertheless, to maximise safety, the rest area should not be hidden from view. To provide a perception of security it should be laid out so it can be seen from the road. Ground cover combined with clear trunk trees can help provide both views and a feeling of separation.

In combined rest areas, heavy vehicle parking spaces should be separated from other vehicles to prevent traffic conflict during manoeuvring. The separation of motorist and heavy vehicle parking spaces reduces disturbance of heavy vehicle drivers, rest by holiday or other travellers. Landscaped areas or sound absorbing walls can be used for separation.

In combined rest areas, amenities should be located within convenient access to both motorist and heavy vehicle drivers and passengers. For example, toilets should be located in -between the motorist and heavy vehicle parking areas or at a location that does not require motorists to enter the heavy vehicle parking area of the site.
In combined areas, special consideration of ensuring safe interactions between general motorist passengers, particularly children, and heavy vehicles is paramount. In particular, placement of access points to roads and amenities requires special careful consideration.

Parking for heavy vehicle bays allows heavy vehicles of various sizes to make the best use of the space available and also provides easy maneuvering in the rest area. This also provides the most effective design layout for achieving effective rest as it minimises in-cabin noise impacts for drivers when using their sleeper cabs. This type of parking layout is also favoured by the heavy vehicle industry.

Benefits may be obtained by dividing the heavy vehicle parking area into smaller parts. This may provide different parking areas for short term and long term heavy vehicle parking in order to minimise disturbance to those who require long rest breaks.

It is important to cater for all expected vehicle types, and where possible separate them within the rest area. For motorists, it is important to provide an adequate number of larger bays for caravans and RV’s. When providing heavy vehicle spaces in rest areas, it is important to accommodate the largest size of heavy vehicle using the route, such as B-doubles.

The length of vehicles may also require consideration. Heavy vehicles can be up to 53.5 meters in length or sometimes longer so may require either a lot of room or a straight drive through situation which is not impeded by other vehicles such as caravans blocking their ability to move.

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Stock On Roads

Stock on Roads

To report stock on roads:
Contact TMR
Pone: 13 19 40

In 2011 RAAG was requested to prepare an education campaign on the dangers of stock on roads following two fatalities and three separate crashes with P Plater drivers seriously injured.

Research and consultation followed, TV and radio commercials were prepared, reviewed by appropriate agencies and with funding from QR National, rolled out across the Bowen Basin, the campaign strongly assisted by numerous free ads, and many media interviews and follow up by the Daily Mercury newspaper.

The success of the education campaign was tracked by the number of reports to QPS Triple Zero, and reports to council of stock on roads. Initially reports were quite high, but as time went by reports reduced, we feel as the message was getting out stock owners were being more responsible in constraining their stock.

RAAG also worked with a number of stock owners, Councils and other agencies where wandering stock, often unbranded, were contained and disposed of.
Statistically, there was a significant reduction of serious crashes in 2012 and with financial assistance from Mackay Regional Council Community fund, the campaign re-run in 2013.

In June 2014 QPS advised stock on roads were again a problem, RAAG worked with media, appealing to stock owners to contain stock, RAAG has also made application to Mackay Regional Council for funding to again run the campaign.

In early 2015 RAAG was made aware by councils and the public, that stock on roads was again a problem.  We would urge Councils to be pro-active with prosecution of stock owners where proven negligence is apparent with regard to the maintenance of fences. The unsuccessful review of legislation requested by a coroner and RAAG to the Attorney General in 2013 to bring Queensland legislation in line with other states is well worthy of a revisit.

RAAG successful with Mackay Regional Council grant application in Sept 2015, campaign to commence by TV, Radio, Digital media March / April 2016

The Stock on roads campaign continues to run as needed.

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Vulnerable Road Users

Vulnerable Road Users

This project commenced with research assisted by RAAG volunteers and TMR in March 2014, grant submission [TMR Community Road Safety grants, Round 3], submitted August 2014, aimed at funding the instrumented motor cycle to visit Mackay region to assess motor cycle route road conditions.

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Rest Areas and Stopping Places

RASP (Rest Area Stopping Place Project)

Rest Area and Stopping Place (RASP) Project Bowen Basin and Regional Road Network A key objective of RAAG is to work collaboratively with stakeholders to reduce the number of road incidents involving driver fatigue. As one of the ‘Fatal Five’, fatigue is a killer on our roads and an effective way to fight fatigue is to stop and rest.

Rest areas are a vital contributor to safety on rural highways and urban roads in and around towns and cities, and RAAG recognises they play an important role in helping all drivers manage fatigue.

Working together, RAAG hosted a forum in Mackay in late 2010 that resulted in the establishment of a project group focussed on delivering a Rest Area and Stopping Place project for the Bowen Basin, Mackay/Whitsunday Region.

Rest Area and Stopping Places Project This project is focussed on delivering more rest areas, at strategic locations, on major roads in the region. RAAG members and Transport and Main Roads (TMR) officers undertook an inspection of the road network, driving over 3000km of roads to identify potential places where new or upgraded rest areas would be effective.

The aim of the project is to identify potential sites in and around the Bowen Basin, Mackay/Whitsunday Region for the establishment or upgrade of rest areas and stopping places for motorists and heavy vehicle drivers.

The project will focus on development of new rest areas. Formal and informal stopping places will also be taken into consideration as potential sites.

Where are we now? The project group has visited potential rest area sites, liaising with stakeholders and compiling road and safety data in order to support decisions for the location of new sites. The group has produced a Master Plan, [link below] with assistance from DTMR Rest Area guidelines, see “rest” link below.

RAAG has agreed on the types of sites required, their approximate locations, and how they will contribute to improved road safety in the region.
The master plan is available, with other supporting information, e.g. TMR Road corridor working permits etc. Contact  for a copy.

As part of this overall project major  outcomes achieved are as follows;

  • Waverley Creek Motorist and Heavy Vehicle rest area . Constructed and completed.
  • TMR upgraded Palm Tree Creek Rest Area.
  • In 2014 TMR constructed 4 new toilet block in remote locations.
  • Nebo Heavy Vehicle Shade Shelters constructed and competed by RAAG.
  • Nebo motorist rest area Shade Shelter constructed and completed by RAAG.
  • New rest area constructed on the Peak Downs Highway approx. 30 km west of Moranbah.

See links below:
– Rest Areas and Stopping Places – Best practice guide for roadside rest areas in Queensland
– Rest Areas Master Plan

Rest Area and Stopping Places Project RAAG is confident that by bringing together community, and government groups, the Rest Area and Stopping Places project can deliver a long-term plan supported by local business, which will improve the safety of all drivers on the vast road network within the Bowen Basin, Mackay/Whitsunday region. Many other projects are an extension to RASP, the 3-2-1 Green Reflector Project, Shade tables at Nebo and a range of other actions are as a result of RASP.

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Ripple Effect V2

Ripple Effect V2

The Ripple Effect V2, released in 2017, tells the story of Mackay resident 17-year-old Tim whose 4WD collided with a tree, splitting in two, when he was driving whilst affected by alcohol.  Miraculously he survived. The Ripple Effect tells of Tim’s decisions and includes interviews with his father, the magistrate who presided over Tim’s case and the investigating police officer.

Funding for production of Ripple Effect V2 was provided by TMR Community Road Safety Grant Funding.  RAAG’s decision to revisit Ripple Effect (after V1) was a result of community requests and justice department authority enquiries.

The Ripple Effect V2 was a finalist in the 2018 Australian Road Safety Awards. 


Ripple Effect

The original Ripple Effect DVD was produced by the Road Accident Action Group and Channel 7 Mackay production with the full cooperation of the families involved.

Ripple Effect was awarded a Certificate of Commendation in the Community Category of the 2008 Queensland Road Safety Awards.

It’s confronting, showing the flow-on effect on families, emergency service workers, the community and everyone involved in an injury or fatality crash situation.  The honesty by those responsible for the crashes when talking about the incidents leaves the viewer with strong memories.

The DVD was distributed by Q.F.R.S as part of the RAAP program to year 12 students.  Numerous companies have utilised the Ripple Effect in tool box talks for apprentices.  Sporting clubs, training organisations and mining companies have all used the 17-minute Ripple Effect DVD when educating road safety.

Over the years, the Ripple Effect has been viewed by thousands.  In August 2014, a resolution was made by RAAG executive to phase out the use of the Ripple Effect (V1) DVD, and commence planning a replacement, “Ripple Effect V2″.

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Round Up Newsletter

Published four times each calendar year, the RAAG Round Up contains local, state and national road safety news along with driving tips and community news.  Our readers have communicated that Round Up’s content is informative and useful.

Read the latest edition or pursue archived copies.

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Funding Opportunity

RAAG is seeking to secure funding to employ a consultant who will develop a comprehensive research study in the Mackay region determining behaviours and attitudes toward distractions.

One aim of this proposed comprehensive study is to embark on targeted promotional campaigns educating drivers and motivating them around the issue of distractions.

How is using a mobile phone while driving dangerous? Using a mobile phone while driving is distracting in the following ways:

  • Physical distraction – the driver’s hand is moved from the steering wheel
  • Visual distraction – the driver’s eyes are diverted from the road
  • Cognitive distraction – talking on a phone while driving causes lapses in concentration, attention and judgement as the driver’s attention is divided between the driving task and conversation.

If you or your business can assist RAAG financially or in kind with this proposed distraction project to reduce incidence of distracted driving, please contact RAAG Chairman Noel Lang for a confidential discussion.

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