Queensland’s shocking COVID-19 driving habits
Exclusive: A startling number of Australian drivers have admitted to driving dangerously under a belief they are safer during lockdown conditions.
Fresh data from Australia's Road and Safety Foundation (ARSF) obtained by News Corp found one in four motorists were taking risks during the COVID-19 lockdown.
It also revealed two thirds believe roads are now safer, while almost one fifth admitted they were speeding more.
Adding to the concern, nine per cent said they were using their mobile phone more often when behind the wheel than before lockdown restrictions were implemented.
The survey of 1000 motorists also found five per cent they were running red lights or stop signs more frequently, while three per cent admitted to driving after a few drinks.
With many resources re-directed towards COVID-19 operations and for public safety, police in WA, NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland stopped high-volume booze bus testing - with some states publicising this.
Mobile speed camera operations were also reduced in some states.
But with restrictions lifting, police across the country are returning to business as usual.
The data from ARSF marks the launch of their Fatality Free Friday campaign, which urges motorists to drive safely on May 29 and any other time they head out on to the road.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack threw his support behind the initiative: "Road safety is of vital importance to each and every Australian."
"We all know someone who has lost their life on the road.
"This is so tragic. Fatality Free Friday reminds us of just how important road safety is."
The research also showed drivers' attitudes across the states.
One in four Queensland motorists surveyed said they had taken road risks amid the lockdown restrictions, with two thirds under the belief roads were currently safer.
More than 40 per cent said they were speeding more often compared to before the lockdown, while a tenth had used their phone while driving.
Three per cent said they had more frequently run a stop sign or red light, and had driven while under the influence.
It comes on top of other worrying data in the survey, which showed more than 80 per cent per cent of QLD motorists admitted to breaking a road law under usual conditions.
More than 75 per cent said they had sped, and almost one quarter had driven while over the legal alcohol limit.
A quarter admitted to looking away from the road at GPS or music for more than two seconds - which doubles the risk of a crash.
ARSF CEO Russell White warned there was no excuse for risky driving behaviour.
"Sadly, with fewer cars on the roads during coronavirus, we're seeing an increase in bad driver behaviour, which is unacceptable," Mr White said.
"Road trauma at any time is tragic, but it's also largely preventable. While our incredible frontline medical and emergency services are already working harder than ever, is that text message or few extra minutes worth adding extra pressure on these resources?"
"For every road death, another 35 Australians are hospitalised. Don't let a split second decision change your or someone else's life forever."
Originally published as Queensland's shocking COVID-19 driving habits