Attitudes to North Queensland road use: do hospitalised drivers/riders appear different by comparison to those not involved in crashes?
In rural and remote Australia, per capita risk of death or injury from a vehicle crash is substantially
higher than that for urban areas. Historically this has always been so, and a paucity of prior
research in this area inspired the Rural and Remote Road Safety Study, goals of which include
assessing and developing interventions to reduce the incidence and associated costs of crashes
outside cities. With three years of rural and remote crash data collection completed, findings
indicate driver behaviour contributes to most crashes, and is the sole cause in a large proportion of
Over 380 patients admitted to a major North Queensland hospital for at least 24 hours following a
vehicle crash consented to an interview in which a structured questionnaire was administered. This
paper reports on responses to questions regarding seatbelt and helmet use, speeding, alcohol
consumption and self-reported drink driving. We also analyse desired changes in enforcement of
road laws, and perceived effectiveness of specific interventions. Seeking to further identify
potential links between behaviour, attitude and crash involvement, the study compares responses
of hospitalised patients with those of other road users in specific crash vicinities. Results suggest
that rural road users hospitalised after a crash are more likely to binge-drink, drink drive and
disregard road rules, and are less likely to wear seatbelts than those not involved in crashes.
Development of more effective interventions targeting attitude and behaviour is essential if crashes
and their impacts are to be significantly reduced in rural and remote Australia.