RACQ rescue pilot Owen Maitland.
RACQ rescue pilot Owen Maitland. Coffee+Hops Photography

Road crash helicopter rescue call-outs on the rise

THE devastating loss of four lives in a 24-hour period on Whitsunday roads last week has highlighted a 36 per cent increase in car crash incidents attended by RACQ CQ Rescue.

RACQ CQ Rescue has revealed Mackay rescue helicopter missions transferring patients with injuries from traffic accidents had topped 30 so far this year, eight higher than for the same period last year.

Base manager and pilot Owen Maitland said the number of crashes they attended and airlifted patients from had increased significantly and many patients had sustained critical injuries including fractures, lacerations and even spinal and internal injuries.

"Statistics show that about 90 per cent of crashes are due to a driver error, such as being distracted, fatigued or even going a little over the speed limit," Mr Maitland said.

In the first four months of the year, RACQ CQ Rescue airlifted 15 injured patients, with some injuries caused after momentary lapses in judgement or attention.

Mr Maitland said death as a result of a crash was not uncommon, particularly when accidents occurred while driving high speeds on highways.

"Something as simple as not leaving the recommended safe following distance could change your life, or that of another person's, completely," he said.

"Fatigue is another avoidable factor."

RACQ CQ Rescue is calling on motorists to take urgent action to end the rising death and injury toll following the tragic Bruce Highway fatalities that shocked the region recently.

These sentiments were echoed by the region's police who have been increasing operations on the region's roads for Road Safety Week which began on Monday and will continue until August 31.

Whitsunday Police said they would be out in full force targeting drivers under the influence as well as inattentive drivers using mobile phones or failing to follow basic road rules.