Courier Mail – Wednesday 1 December 2004

Plea to pubs to curb drink-walking

By Steven Wardill



HOTELS on busy roads could be forced to erect curbside barriers to address an alarming number of people killed “drink-walking” in Queensland.

As the festive season hits full stride, Transport Minister Paul Lucas has admitted the Government and the community had not done enough to prevent pedestrian deaths.

Mr Lucas told The Courier-Mail that hotels must take more responsibility for the wellbeing of patrons as they departed their premises. His department was considering measures to force hotels to erect barriers between the footpath and potentially dangerous roads.

“We are going to have a look at a whole lot of things in that respect, from things as simple as will it be effective in hotels on busy roads to actually require that there be some sort of barrier outside door?,” Mr Lucas said.

“So if you walk out of a hotel, you don't walk out on to the street so you bump into something else.”

Government figures reveal that since 1999, 252 pedestrians were killed in Queensland -- 80 of them affected by alcohol.

The figures reveal 14 pedestrians under the influence of alcohol were killed in 2002 compared with 19 last year.

Forcing hotels to erect curbside barriers could come at a considerable cost. The Office of Fair Trading's annual report says there are more than 6100 licensed venues in Queensland, many in built-up urban areas.

Queensland Hotels Association did not return calls yesterday.

However, the Pedestrian Council of Australia backed the barriers proposal.

“It should be compulsory outside every pub,” PCA chairman Harold Scruby said.

He said erecting barriers outside licensed premises was done on an ad hoc basis throughout Australia and the “commerce versus safety” reality meant some hotel owners were resisting.

Mr Scruby said a successful campaign to erect barriers along Sydney's Taylor Square precinct had cut the number of pedestrian accidents.

Mr Lucas said Government would prefer to work co-operatively with hotels.

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