“I won’t try and sugarcoat things, it is a disappointing result,” he said.
“We are going to do everything we can during 2021 to reverse that, try and reverse that result as much as we can.
“What we do need is the people of Queensland, the people that are using our road networks – we need them to take a little step back and have a think about how they conduct themselves on our road networks.”
The spike follows more people shunning public transport during the pandemic, which saw traffic numbers plummet in March and April, and opting to drive themselves after the lockdown.
Forty per cent of fatal crashes involved people not wearing seatbelts, 17.5 per cent involved speeding, and 14 per cent involved fatigue.
Assistant Commissioner Rohweder said he found the high percentage of fatalities involving people not wearing seat belts “quite disturbing”.
“I just don’t understand how that can be the case. We see instances of, for example, parents in cars where the parents are wearing a seatbelt and the children are unrestrained,” he said.
“It’s just an incredible situation.”
More than 180 vehicle drivers and passengers were killed in crashes across the year, while 54 motorcyclists lost their lives, as did seven cyclists and 34 pedestrians.
Assistant Commissioner Rohweder said the greatest concern centred on regional roads, with the Central Coast and Wide Bay-Burnett region recording 90 road deaths in the past year.
The Southern Region recorded 64 deaths, while northern Queensland lost 56 people on its roads.
In south-east Queensland, 42 people were killed and 24 people died on Brisbane’s roads.
“The regional roads are the most disturbing, to be honest … in the Central region, Mackay, Wide Bay-Burnett, they had distinct increases in the road toll,” he said.
“A significant number of those, too, are speed-related and not wearing a seatbelt, so that’s very concerning.
“We’ve certainly put a lot of resources into those areas, enforcement resources, to try and bring those totals down, and we’ll continue to do so.”
Assistant Commissioner Rohweder asked Queenslanders to make a New Year’s resolution to slow down, ensure everyone in their car was wearing a seatbelt, don’t use mobile phones, don’t drive tired, and do not drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Lucy is the urban affairs reporter for the Brisbane Times, with a special interest in Brisbane City Council.