December marks the official start of summer and with this comes school holidays, Christmas, and New Year’s celebrations. Many people use this time to travel interstate for holiday or to visit family. Given how expensive air travel can be, especially when it’s for the whole family, many of us hit the roads instead to make it to our destination.
So what happens if you are involved in a car accident outside Queensland? We take a look at who you should bring a claim against if you have an interstate accident, which law will apply, as well as outline some helpful hints to stay safe on our roads this holiday period.
The Christmas holiday period is a busy time for many. Busy holiday periods mean more traffic on the roads, leading to a greater risk of being involved in an accident. Statistics records by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC Victoria) show that the last 12 days of the year (December 20-31) result in the highest road fatalities for the year.
A campaign to reduce the Christmas holiday road toll run by Queensland police will focus on the five fatal offences including:
- Drink or drug driving;
- Seatbelts; and
- Distraction and inattention.
In other attempts to reduce the number of road crashes during the Christmas period many states will be issuing double demerit points for traffic and seatbelt offences.
While Christmas is a great excuse to indulge in food and drinks, drivers must be aware that drink and drug driving is a major factor in many accidents. In fact it is the number one contributor in approximately 30% of fatal crashes in Queensland.
But what happens if you have an interstate car accident?
In Queensland if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident then you make a claim for damages against the compulsory third party insurer of the vehicle that caused the accident. However this is not the same in all states and territories. If your accident occurs in a state other than Queensland then a claim for damages is brought against the following (providing the vehicle you believe to be at fault is also registered in that state):
- New South Wales: the compulsory third party insurer of “at fault” vehicle;
- Victoria: Transport Accident Commission;
- Western Australia: Insurance Commission of Western Australia;
- South Australia: Motor Accident Commission via Allianz Australia Limited
- Northern Territory: Territory Insurance Office (TIO)
- Tasmania: Motor Accidents Insurance Board (MAIB)
- ACT: compulsory third party insurer of “at fault” vehicle
In the event of interstate accidents, the law of that state will apply. For example if you live in Queensland but your car accident occurred in NSW then the laws surrounding motor vehicle accidents and personal injury of NSW will apply. There are different compensation laws and processes in every state and territory and these will affect how you make an interstate claim.
Regardless of where you travel to though, first and foremost should be the safety of you and your family on our roads. The Queensland Government has these tips for safe driving this Christmas period:
- Get a good night’s sleep;
- Put a hardcopy of your map in the car;
- Have a spare tyre, tools and water;
- Check you have the right level of cover for your roadside assistance;
- Decide on a driving roster – if you can share the driving;
- Plan your drive and choose your rest stops in advance. Stopping every 2 hours is recommended.
Christmas should be a time for family gatherings, exchange of presents, and indulging in food and drinks. With all of the additional traffic on our roads at this time of year it is important that we put safety first to help ensure that the most wonderful time of the year remains this way!