Road Disasters: The Most Infamous Road Accidents in Australian History

We always have this fatal attraction for violent road accidents that caught the imagination of the Australian public. The deaths of prominent individuals and celebrities have filled newspaper headlines from the fatal automobile accident of Hollywood heartthrob James Dean to the disastrous car crash that claimed the life of Princess Diana. Though such accidents are typically attributed to drunk driving, unsafe road conditions, and bad driving practices, road disasters of this magnitude evoke interest in our popular imagination. These incidences serve us important lessons about the importance of traffic rules and responsible driving. In order to prevent such accidents, make sure to check out the right vehicle when you look for a new car at a specialised motoring search portal.

What causes road accidents? Such causes can be associated to driver behaviour and road condition but the fact of the matter is that accidents do happen. Since various traffic police units and local government agencies keep track on the various road accidents in Australia every year, they have a very good idea with the causes of road accidents and provide the necessary measures and legal means to curtail such dangerous incidences on the road. Despite recent innovations in automotive safety, fatal road accidents still happen from time to time. Here are the most infamous road accidents in Australian history:

Kempsey Bus Crash – Kempsey, NSW – December 22, 1989 – 35 killed

Considered as the deadliest road accident in Australian history, the Kempsey Bus Crash happened when two fully loaded tourist coaches, each travelling at 100 kilometres per hour, collided head-on on the Pacific Highway at Clybucca Flat. The buses, operated by McCafferty’s Coaches and Trans City, collided in a tremendous amount of force that seats and passengers alike were thrown out resulting in 35 killed and 41 injured. The force of the impact left the Sydney-bound bus embedded in the front five rows of the cabin of the Brisbane-bound bus. Among the fatalities were John and Robyn Harris and their teenage son Nicky. John was Art Editor of Brisbane's "The Sun" newspaper while Robyn was a feature writer.

Grafton Bus Crash – Grafton, NSW – October 20, 1989 – 21 killed

Months before the fatal Kempsey bus disaster, a similar incident happened on the Pacific Highway wherein a collision involving a truck and a passenger bus claimed 21 lives and injured 22 people. A southbound semi-trailer truck carrying a load of tinned fruit juice swerved onto the wrong side of the road and collided with a passenger bus, carrying 45 passengers, travelling the other way. The force of the impact resulted in a penetration of the side of the bus thereby causing passengers to spill onto the road. Investigators have found out that the driver, who was among the dead, had high levels of ephedrine in his blood. What makes it worse is that the Pacific Highway was involved with bus accidents during a brief period of time prior to fatal road accidents in Grafton and Kempsey.

Tumut Pond Bus Crash – Tumut Pond, NSW – September 1, 1973 – 18 killed

In September 1973, a bus full of Adelaide pensioners on a tour of the Snowy Mountains plunged down a steep slope into the Tumut Pond Reservoir, killing 18 and injuring 21. The result of the investigation revealed that the cause of the accident was brake failure.

Boondall Bus Crash - Boondall, QLD - October 1, 1994 - 12 killed

As compared with most current road accidents, the Boondall incident was the deadliest accident in Queensland history. The crash occurred at the Gateway Arterial Road, where it is notorious for an extraordinarily high number of fatal and serious traffic incidences. The bus crash claimed 12 lives and injured 39 people.

Cardross Bus Crash – Mildura, VIC – February 18, 2006 - 6 killed

Described as a hit and run accident, a driver driving a Ford BA Falcon station wagon crashed into a group of 13 teenage pedestrians killing 5 instantly. Cassandra Manners, Stevie-Lee Weight, Cory Dowling, Abby Hirst and her brother Shane Hirst all died at the scene. Josephine Calvi died the following day at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Burnley Tunnel Fire – Melbourne, VIC – March 23, 2007 - 3 killed

The Burnley Tunnel Fire is one of the recent Australian road accidents that resulted in an explosion and fire under the busy tollway tunnel connecting the West Gate Freeway to the Monash Freeway. Three people were killed including Olympic cyclist Damian McDonald.

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