WOULD you ask a speeding driver to slow down?
It may be a friend, family member or practical stranger, but sat in the passenger seat beside a lead-footed pilot, would you ask them to drop the speed if you felt unsafe or uncomfortable with them breaking the law?
Half of us apparently would not. According to new research released by the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), 49% of Australians do not ask speeding drivers to ease off, with many believing it's simply not their place to caution another driver.
In Queensland we're even more ambivalent. The research showed 55% of us wouldn't ask the driver to drop their speed.
The findings have been released ahead of this month's Fatality Free Friday initiative, which this year falls on May 26. Held annually since 2007 it is the nation's largest community-based road safety initiative, where hundreds of thousands of Australians take the road safety pledge either at public signing events or online.
Speeding, of course, is not the only cause of death on our roads. Dangerous driving, distracted drivers and drunk or drug drivers account for a huge amount of tragedy.
The ARSF study showed that 57% of Queensland drivers admit to using their phones behind the wheel. And that's those who admit it. Look around you when stationary at traffic lights or in a traffic jam and you'd suspect that number's a lot higher with the amount of heads down furiously texting or checking social media on smartphones.
Findings revealed 44% of Queenslanders riding with a texting taxi, Uber or professional driver will not ask them to put their phone away. If we trust and pay such drivers - professionals remember - to ferry us around, we really should be speaking up to make our journeys as safe as possible.
We seem to regard drunk drivers as most in need of correction, highlighting how decades of campaigning has largely proved successful.
Almost a quarter (24%) of Queenslanders have let a loved one drive who they thought was above the blood alcohol content limit. Still a frightening percentage, but that makes 76% who have not kept quiet or had no need to.
ARSF founder and CEO Russell White said that reducing the tragic loss of life on the roads can only stem from peer pressure and not from authorities dictating road laws.
"We need to create a culture where we call each other out on bad behaviour behind the wheel, instead of shuffling the responsibility onto others," Mr White said.
"That's what our Fatality Free Friday initiative is all about; educating road users on the individual role they play in reducing the devastating impact of road crashes."
There were 252 Queenslanders killed on the roads in 2016, with 200 (79%) being male.
Despite increasing safety in the cars we drive, and the proliferation of speed cameras on our roads, Australia's road toll has been increasing in the past three years.
In 2016 there were 1301 fatalities on Australian roads, up from 1210 in 2015 and 1155 in 2014. In 2016 that meant there were around 5 fatalities per 100,000 population per year.
Positively, that figure has fallen markedly over the decades. In 1996 there were 1970 fatalities (10.7 fatalities per 100,000 population) and in 1975 there were 3634 deaths on our roads (26.6 fatalities per 100,000 population).
Queensland fatality breakdown for 2016 by age group
4% were children under the age of 18
19% were 18-25 years (the highest of any age group)
16% were 26-35 years
15% were 36-45 years
11% were 46-55 years
13% were 56-65 years
6% were 66-75 years
15% were over 77 years
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