Truckie calls for 4-lane hwy after another fatal
A TOWNSVILLE truckie who travels the Bruce Highway every day carries a trauma teddy with him in his cab for when he comes across yet another crash scene.
Andy Kmet, a third generation truck driver, has been haunted by the number of crashes he's seen on our roads and wants to see a four-lane highway which he says would save lives.
His comments come after another life was lost - a 25-year-old Mackay man, who died in a three-vehicle collision near the AIMS turn-off on Sunday.
"The Bruce Highway is the most dangerous road in Australia," Mr Kmet said.
"The number one contributor to crashes I think is impatience. Not enough overtaking lanes leaves frustrated drivers stuck behind caravanners and others who choose to drive at 80km/h, leaving long convoys.
"Then those frustrated drivers who run out of patience, eventually choose to overtake in dangerous spots that lead to collisions."
While Mr Kmet said he had witnessed "too many" crash scenes on North Queensland highways, there was one he would never get out of his head.
"The worst one I've seen was two kids who held up a service station and were in front of me when they clipped another truck and went off a cliff," he recalled.
"One kid died on impact and I had to keep the other one alive until the ambos could get there.
"I don't want to see something like that happen here."
The former firefighter said it wasn't just victims and victims' families who suffered after fatal crashes.
"It's also the people who turn up and help, it's left some scars with me," Mr Kmet said.
"I actually keep a trauma teddy in the truck with me now so if I come across a crash and mum's hurt and I say to the kids 'can you keep an eye on my teddy for me?' so they're distracted and I can look after their mum.
"I see impatience on the roads every day and something needs to be done."
Mr Kmet believes the Bruce Highway should be widened to become a four-lane 'dual carriageway' from Gympie all the way north to Cairns.
Other readers shared their thoughts on the Townsville Bulletin Facebook page after we revealed more than 100 people were injured in crashes on a 200km stretch of Bruce Highway each year.
"Two lanes each way, that's if they were serious about cutting the road tolls," Dallas Barnwell said.
"Roads haven't really changed since the 80s but now we have less rail usage, more trucks, cars and caravans on the road and the road is still one lane each way and very few overtaking opportunities."
Marty Richter lamented the government focusing on the southeast corner.
"It is fine for the government to spend billions on big roads and tunnels down south to save commuters a few minutes, while we in the north face death every time we want to go somewhere because of the poor roads," Mr Richter said.
"Roads that in many cases have not been upgraded or changed course since the horse and buggy days."
Luke Graham said it was a combination of people and roads that were at fault with any crash.
"It might be the roads? It might be people? It might be the fact that we are a high density tourism area and tourists unfamiliar with our conditions get in to trouble?" he said.
"Could even be the NQ attitude to life, taking things with a relaxed approach?
"What we do know however is there should be better highway driving education starting in high school and four lane roads with gap in the middle and permanent keep left rule at a minimum."