Cop says fatal crashes aren't accidents
SERGEANT Mark Woitowitz's first major fatality on the job is one he'll never forget.
Before the sergeant even began in his position as a traffic cop, he attended a double fatality on the Sunshine Coast that took the lives of one driver and a passenger, and seriously injured two other passengers.
That was 18 years ago, and Sergeant Woitowitz remembers every detail of that crash, down to the names of the victims.
Now, on Fatality Free Friday, he is urging drivers to think about their actions on the road.
"The benefit to having Fatality Free Friday is bringing to the forefront and making people aware of what they don't usually do every day,” Sergeant Woitowitz said.
The fatality count for 2019 in the south-west was looking lower than previous years, before two fatal crashes killed seven people in total all in the lead-up to Fatality Free Friday.
Sergeant Woitowitz said all fatalities on the road in the past few years were the cause of at least one of the fatal five: fatigue, drug driving, drink driving, speeding, and driving without a seatbelt.
"Most of them (fatalities) have more than one involved,” he said.
"Out here fatigue is a big factor in our fatalities out this way.
"The most frustrating thing for me is they're all avoidable. That's the hardest thing for me to comprehend.”
Sergeant Sean Donaghy has worked in Dalby for five years.
He remembers every fatality he has attended, and it never gets any easier.
"For every murder we have in Queensland, eight people die on the roads,” he said.
"You have a murder, it's sad. But for that murder you have eight people killed on the road.
This is where the carnage is - on our roads.
More people get injured from road crashes than assaults per year.
Sergeant Donaghy said the "ripple” effect on the family and friends of the deceased, and the emergency services who attend to the scenes is the most heartbreaking thing to see.
"It's not just the deceased we've got to deal with, it's the injuries, brain damage, ongoing rehabilitation,” he said.
"The emergency service workers that go to these things, they've got to deal with the aftermath, especially with children that have been killed.
A poor decision made in a split second could be the difference between life and death on the road.
"Traffic crashes aren't accidents,” Sergeant Donaghy said.
"We don't regard them as accidents.
"Someone has basically made a mistake to cause the crash.
"There's always someone at fault.”