Man suggests elderly driving tests

A LAWYER who travels along the Bruce Highway between Gympie and Maryborough every day says measures should be put in place to ensure another young life is not lost unnecessarily on the road.

Tammy Kerle commended the strong police presence on the stretch of highway where Emma Butters lost her life on Tuesday morning.

“I travel the road twice daily and regularly see a police presence – usually at least once per trip if not more,” she said.

“The accident is a devastating and unnecessary loss of a young life.

“The key is to learn from it and put measures into place to try to avoid something similar happening again.”

Ms Kerle said the speed limit along that stretch of road had been reduced last week because the road was being re-surfaced.

“The warning signs are still in place indicating there is still a danger of stones deflecting from the road into vehicles, as there are still loose stones,” she said.

“But the road surface itself is driveable without incident when you drive to the speed limit.

“The road is a clear, straight stretch.”

Twenty-year-old Emma was driving south on the highway near the Glenwood State School when an elderly man heading north veered into the path of her car.

The young university student, who grew up in Hervey Bay, died at the scene.

The 82-year-old driver of the other vehicle was seriously injured and was flown to Brisbane for treatment.

His two passengers were also badly injured and taken to Gympie and Nambour hospitals.

Ms Kerle said it was time the government funded compulsory driver training and assessment for older drivers.

“I believe Queensland Transport already requires a yearly assessment if you are over a certain age,” she said.

“But it would be more prudent to have government-funded assessments at Roadcraft for drivers over 70, which they must undertake once per year.

“This would ensure they not only know the road rules and are mentally and physically competent, but are able to drive to the conditions in the event something unexpected occurs.”

Ms Kerle said the cost of such a program should be covered by the Federal Government and should include a travel subsidy for travel to and from the nominated Roadcraft centre.

“It should be compulsory in all states to ensure continuity across the country.

“Young people now have to sit for assessments and keep logbooks before they can even get a provisional licence.

“The granting of a licence is not as of right – it has to be earned, as should the right to keep it.”

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