One in five Ipswich road deaths occur on major highways
TWO highways claimed one fifth of all lives lost on Ipswich region roads over about 14 years.
Between January 2001 and March 2014, 114 people died on Ipswich roads including 11 on the Warrego Hwy and six more on the highway's entries and exits.
Over the same period on the Cunningham Hwy's Ipswich stretch, nine people died.
Other major thoroughfares in the region were among the most dangerous with seven people killed in crashes on Redbank Plains Rd and six on the Haigslea-Amberley Rd.
RACQ safety expert Steve Spalding said upgrading roads could save lives, and money, in the long run.
"When you factor in the cost of fatalities and serious injuries to the community, which runs into the billions of dollars, suddenly the cost of upgrading a road becomes much less significant than it seems," he said.
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Mr Spalding said high speed limits and more traffic made highways much more dangerous than other roads.
He said fatigue from driving long distances and driver distraction - often from checking mobile phones - was leading to crashes.
"People are unfortunately wedded to their phones. Driver distraction is a huge issue," he said.
But Mr Spalding said no matter how good roads were, nearly all serious crashes involved driver error and some crashes could not be avoided.
"There are those still you can't control - people who ignore the rules, who drink-drive or worse still drug-drive," he said.
"Even the best roads - with the best vehicle and best driver - won't be able to stop that."
The Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety Queensland's Dr Judy Fleiter said bad driving habits led to a lot of deaths on regional roads.
"If your experience of a lifetime's driving tells you that you can get from A to B with two hours sleep with nothing bad happening, then we think we can always do that," she said.
"I think we are eternal optimists. If it hasn't happened to you in the past we assume it won't happen ever. All it takes is for one roo to jump out, one truck to swerve, loose gravel where you don't expect it and you could crash."