Courier Mail, The (Brisbane), 22/02/2007, pg. 26

FLUORESCENT-painted car wrecks are the latest shock tactic police are using in the battle against the soaring accident rate on country roads.

In a trial at Dalby, a car crash display complete with real wrecked cars has been set up next to a sign asking drivers “Are you Queensland’s next killer?”

The scheme is the brainchild of Dalby police inspector Tony Brame, who saw a similar tactic trialled in north Queensland two years ago.

“The wrecked cars (I saw) and the sign saying `Please don’t kill another family this holiday’ just stuck in my mind,” he said.

His efforts seem to have paid off with the fake accident scene apparently responsible for a five-fold drop in the number of accidents in the area.

Local sponsors in Dalby have rallied to pay for signage and students from Dalby State High School volunteered to remove the motors from two wrecked cars for the display.

Insp Brame said there had been an 85 per cent drop in accidents in the area since the scheme started and a halving of hospital admissions.

Fatal crashes were down by a third compared with the same period before the car wrecks were put in place.

A survey of travellers found most motorists responded positively to the message.

“Travellers have noticed the crash display and are still talking about it after they have driven another 550km to Charleville,” Insp Brame said.

Survey results showed all drivers saw the crash display.

Most thought it was effective and more than half of the drivers said it made them think about their driving habits. Following the encouraging early indicators of success, similar crash displays are
planned for the four highway entries to the Dalby police district.

The idea has already been picked up in other regional areas. Even Charleville secondary school teacher Ed Hansen and his students have become involved. Mr Hansen has obtained two car wrecks and will teach his students how to remove a car engine before handing them over.

Local police and Main Roads department officers will co-ordinate signage and select a suitable location to put the cars.

Copyright 2007 / Courier Mail