Technology a lethal distraction

TECHNOLOGY might be making cars safer, but it may also be helping to kill us.

As of November 25, 236 people have had their lives snuffed out on Queensland roads this year, 18 more than at same time in 2010.

If we all survive until New Years' Day, the final result will be lower than the 2010 total of 249.

The North Coast region - which includes the Sunshine Coast, Gympie and Bundaberg - suffered the most blood on its roads, with 50 dead.

But that is two under where it stood a year ago.

The Central region - Gladstone, Mackay and west to Longreach - may have a lower figure with 45, but that is 13 more than 2010.

That horrific increase is eclipsed only in the South East, including Gold Coast and south Brisbane, where 42 were killed, a rise of 22 in just 12 months.

Queensland Police state traffic operations co-ordinator Acting Inspector Sean O'Neill said it was not just the traditional "Fatal Four" at play.

"With the increases of new technology - people using mobile phones, texting and being distracted by their iPods - it's creating new problems, not only for police but for other road users," he said.

"With the drug driving, it is one where we're finding more drivers as we roll out more police doing the detections.

"As with speeding drivers and drivers affected by alcohol, those impaired by drugs are of great risk to all road users.

"Police are taking the problem seriously, we are putting the warnings out there but if people continue to disregard that message, they will be caught."

Act Insp O'Neill said the number of road deaths were falling when viewed over the long term, but surviving a crash was very different from emerging unharmed.

"What we're seeing over the past couple of years, there's been a downward trend on the number of fatalities but there has been an increase in serious injuries.

"We're looking at reducing the serious injury crashes caused by high-speed impacts, people being on the road when they shouldn't be and those not wearing seatbelts."

Police ran state-wide Operation Check It traffic campaign from November 5 to November 20, targeting defective vehicles and the fatal four.

An even more targeted campaign will run through the notoriously dangerous Christmas period. It will run from December 7 until the end of January.

To stay safe and on the right side of the thin blue line, Act Insp O'Neill said those preparing for long journeys needed to know their cars could handle it.

"People need to ensure their vehicles have been checked by a mechanic or are suitable for long distance travelling," he said.

"Do not speed, wear seatbelts, don't drive while fatigued or while impaired by drugs or alcohol."

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