The relative scarcity of rest areas on many major routes – and the quality of the ones that are there – has long been a bone of contention for grey nomads who are constantly being urged not to drive while tired.
While there is still a long way to go in this regard, there are encouraging signs that the various levels of government are ramping up their efforts.
The WA Government announced earlier this year is was to improve up to 17 rest areas at a cost of $14m. Now, nearly $13m has been allocated to improving rest areas in Queensland, thanks to the Rest Area Upgrade Program funded jointly by the state and federal governments.
Assistant road safety and freight transport minister, Scott Buchholz, said improving these facilities was critical.
“These upgrades are going to provide better rest stops and increase capacity to encourage road users to stop, revive and survive,” he said. “We know managing fatigue helps reduce the risk of crashes on our roads.”
Research has consistently shown there is a link between the number of rest areas on a stretch of road and the number of fatigue-related accidents it sees.
And the perceived shortage of suitable rest areas has previously resulted is some conflict between truckies and grey nomads.
Queensland assistant regional roads minister, Bruce Saunders, said there was no doubt that driver fatigue was a killer on our roads.
“Over the past five years, fatigue has played a role in crashes on Queensland roads that have claimed 31 lives and seriously injured 462 people,” he said. “Modern and well-maintained rest areas encourage drivers to stop and take that break, so that’s why investments like this are so important.”