Crash investigator stands with MP on Bruce Highway upgrade
DRIVING the length of the Bruce Hwy recently, veteran policeman Steve Webb could see every one of the hundreds of fatal accidents he's attended on Queensland's deadliest road.
Now, after 25 years as a forensic crash investigator, there's one thing Sgt Webb wants to see before he retires - section D of the Cooroy to Curra upgrade funded.
The head of the Wide Bay Forensic Crash Unit wrote a letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about the highway, which was included in a book compiled by Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien.
The Chronicle is standing by Mr O'Brien in his fight to get the funding for project fast tracked ahead of other Commonwealth infrastructure projects.
Sgt Webb said he had attended fatal crashes alongside Mr O'Brien when the politician worked as a policeman.
While there might be a tendency among politicians to view road deaths as mere statistics, Mr O'Brien knew the real trauma involved in every crash, Sgt Webb said.
"Often he was the first officer at the scene.
"People who die on the roads are more than statistics.
"They're people, they have real family and real friends.
"Every life lost on the road is preventable."
Sgt Webb said the fight for the upgrade had his total support.
"Anything that will save lives, we support it," he said.
"We've lost a lot of lives on the Bruce Highway."
While driver behaviour was usually the root cause of a crash, Sgt Webb said it was proven that better roads lowered the chances of serious crashes and fatalities.
He said the two-lane stretch of the Bruce Highway left no room for driver error.
"It's unforgiving," Sgt Webb said.
"You've got to try to minimise the risk."
Sgt Webb said sections A, B and C, had made a huge difference to the safety of the highway south of Gympie and it was time for final section from Cooroy to Curra.
This will allow for planning of four-lanes all the way to Maryborough.
"I know south of Gympie the number of serious and fatal crashes have dropped dramatically," he said.
"That's proof that it makes a difference."
Sgt Webb is set to retire in July next year.
Before he says goodbye to the job, he'd like to know that section D has been funded and he would like to see the Federal Government turn its attention to the Fraser Coast stretch where Sgt Webb has witnessed more carnage than most can imagine.
"I won't see it completed before I retire," he said.
"But it would be nice to know it's going to get done."