The Road Ahead : December 2010
MOTORING SPECIAL REPORT WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 36 THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2010/JAN 2011 STORY BARRY GREEN taking it to the streets A new RACQ initiative gives drivers out on the road the opportunity to speak up over a cuppa. RACQ SUPPORTS ROAD safety through its presence on advisory committees, conducting member surveys, advocating to governments, special programs for school students and seniors and getting the message out to the media. In a trial during September, the Club's Mobile Business Centre (MBC) along with staff from the Retail and External Relations departments went out on the road to engage with members and the travelling public. The MBC set up at three driver reviver sites in Central Queensland, and drivers were able to discuss general motoring matters with RACQ staff while they took a break. More than 100 surveys were completed, raising a host of road safety issues. Among the feedback were harrowing stories of challenges faced by heavy vehicle drivers using the Bruce Highway, vehicle technologies executive manager Steve Spalding said. "We heard from truck drivers about the dangers of narrow road shoulders on our main national highway," Mr Spalding said. "They told of passing trucks being separated by centimetres because of the narrow highway combined with narrow shoulders and broken edges. "They don't want to 'drop' tyres off the edge of the road to provide sufficient passing clearance, because it can be difficult to get the truck back onto the bitumen. "The truckies said narrow bridges forced passing trucks within an estimated 30 centimetres of clearance, exposing both vehicles to a side collision. "All these concerns have flow-on safety implications in that motorists are sharing the same roads." Lack of overtaking lanes and stopping places to take designated breaks were also raised, with many truck rest areas lacking basic amenities such as toilets, seating or shade. Car drivers agreed with the shortage of safe passing opportunities, saying they were either held up by others or felt pressured at times to increase their speed due to other vehicles travelling behind. They also raised the issues of: The quality of the road, particularly where it had broken edges, uneven surface or pot holes. The extended 90 km/h sections each side of Gympie and north of Gin Gin, which they said was frustrating. The need for driver reviver sites to be open outside school holidays. RACQ Central Queensland regional manager Colin Goodsell, who proposed the trial, said it was evident the vast majority of motorists welcomed the presence of the MBC at the driver revivers stops and the opportunity to discuss motoring issues with RACQ staff.