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Slater and Gordon lawyers say a rise in pedestrian injuries and fatalities across Queensland is a cause for concern.

Principal Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer Kavita Maharaj said an increase in reported incidents appeared to reflect the rise in the number of similar claims the firm had seen over the past two to three years.

Ms Maharaj said she believed there were several causes for the rise, however the most common factors were:

    • Driver distraction – drivers using their phones while behind the wheel
    • Speeding
    • Drink driving, and
    • Driving tired.

“It’s concerning that some drivers are still not heeding important messages about road safety,” Ms Maharaj said.

“As a society we have received enough education about drink driving, speeding, driving tired and using mobile phones while driving to know that these actions dramatically raise the likelihood of an accident.

“While there are laws and significant fines in place for breaking those laws, people need to understand that whenever they get behind the wheel, they are operating a machine that can be dangerous.

“It is not just up to the police to monitor this behaviour; we all have a responsibility behind the wheel.

“It’s also important for pedestrians to always be alert and aware of the potential for accidents even if they are doing the right thing and crossing when and where they are supposed to.”

She said accidents involving cars and pedestrians often involved severe and life-threatening injuries with a devastating effect on victims and their families.

Ms Maharaj is presently acting for Terry Trussler and his daughter Ashleigh who were both hit by an out-of-control car on a footpath, just metres from their Mooloolaba home in 2014.

Ashleigh, riding a scooter and Mr Trussler, riding a bicycle, started a leisurely ride when the car turned a corner, hitting them both with the 11-year-old taking the brunt of the contact.

After breaking her jaw and suffering a list of other injuries to her body, including her neck and back, Ashleigh is still receiving physical and psychological treatment four years on.

“I still have to go to the dentist and physiotherapist a lot as well as a psychiatrist because I’m still pretty traumatised from that day,” Ashleigh said.

“I remember the whole thing pretty well. It’s still really scary.”

Mr Trussler said even before the accident, hoons and people travelling above the speed limit had been an issue in the area.

He said after years working as truck driver, he understood, more than many, the need to be safe on the road.

“What happened to us is a parent’s worst nightmare, you shouldn’t have to worry about this, especially in a suburban street like ours,” Mr Trussler said.

“The community needs to understand what can happen when someone drives or rides a motorcycle irresponsibly, unfortunately Ashleigh and I had to witness it firsthand."

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