Which towing vehicle should I buy?

The question We’ve just retired and are looking at buying our first new car. We tow a light Coromal pop-up single axle caravan and currently drive a 2002 Holden Commodore Equipe V6. It’s been good but it’s getting old. We mostly drive around town ferrying grandkids, so don’t want a big 4WD. We’ll do more … Continue reading “Which towing vehicle should I buy?”

The question

We’ve just retired and are looking at buying our first new car. We tow a light Coromal pop-up single axle caravan and currently drive a 2002 Holden Commodore Equipe V6. It’s been good but it’s getting old. We mostly drive around town ferrying grandkids, so don’t want a big 4WD. We’ll do more caravanning in the near future. I’ve been researching several cars, including the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Mazda CX-9. Should I get a diesel? I want something easy to park so nothing too big.

Judi

Answer

All vehicles on your shopping list should manage the light van. Ute-based SUVs such as the Ford Everest and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport will tow more but are big and cumbersome around town. Normally we wouldn’t recommend a diesel for pottering around town but if you want to get some serious grey nomad kilometres under the belt, especially with a caravan, it makes sense.

Choices

Kia Sorento Si Diesel, about $49,900

The upgraded Sorento has gained some important safety features.Source:Supplied

Our Car of the Year a couple of years back, the Sorento has had an upgrade that added some important safety features and creature comforts. The 2.2-litre turbo diesel has plenty of grunt for towing a caravan (capacity is 2000kg) and part-time all-wheel drive for any slippery surfaces around the campsite. The third row of seats provides enough space for the grandkids and there are ample outlets for them to plug in their phones and tablets. Fuel consumption is a claimed 7.2L/100km, compared with 10L/100km for the petrol version. It has autonomous emergency braking but misses out on blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert. Its industry-leading seven-year warranty adds to the appeal.

Hyundai Santa Fe Active about $50,400

Hyundai Sante Fe shares is a slick machine.Source:Supplied

This shares the Sorento’s engines and basic underpinnings but has been updated recently and has a more modern looking cabin with newer technology. It’s also slightly larger, liberating more space for rear passengers, and it has easier access to the third row than the Sorento. Creature comforts on the Active include leather seats, smartphone mirroring and an abundance of USB ports and 12V outlets, although there’s no satnav. As with the Sorento, the airbags don’t extend to the back of the third row and the warranty is shorter than the Kia at five years. Towing capacity matches the Kia.

Skoda Kodiaq 140TDI, $47,490

The Kodiaq is smaller than the other two SUVs listed here but has part time seven seats.Source:Supplied

It’s not a diesel and it’s a bit smaller than the Santa Fe and Sorento, so there’s less luggage space and room in the third-row pews, which also don’t get aircon vents. If you can live with that, the Skoda rewards with a punchy 2.0-litre turbo that punches above its weight and is reasonably frugal for a petrol engine, using just 7.6L/100km. It tows the same weight but has a low 80kg downball weight and a space-saver spare — in the Kia and Hyundai they are full-size. Safety is good, with nine airbags and AEB but other driver assist tech is bundled in an expensive Luxury Pack. Five-year warranty matches the Hyundai.

Wildcard

Holden Commodore Tourer, $47,990

The new Holden Commodore might not be built here but it is still a competent performer.Source:Supplied

If you liked your old Commodore, why not buy a new one? The Tourer Calais has a powerful 235kW 3.6-litre V6 matched to a smooth-shifting nine-speed auto and adaptive all-wheel drive. It’s a five-seater but is rated to tow 2000kg and has all the goodies including satnav, head-up display and smartphone mirroring. There’s even a massaging function on the driver’s seat for those long treks between camp sites. Safety tech is comprehensive, including AEB, adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist. Its thirst — a claimed 9L/100km — is the only drawback.

The verdict

The Commodore is a good drive if you can afford the fuel bills, the Sorento and Kodiaq have long warranties and clever cabin layouts — but the Santa Fe has the right combination of size, tech and ability.

Every corpse has a story: How forensic experts find clues in the dead

A body is found in a dimly lit alleyway in a large Australian city: Who are they? How did they die? Did they meet foul play? Who killed them?

These are the questions we trust Australia’s forensic pathologists and allied forensic professionals to answer as they dissect the dead to reveal hidden clues about identity and cause of death.

But how do these forensic super sleuths speak for the dead?

WRITTEN ON THE SKIN

Many conclusions regarding a person’s demise can be reached through external examination of a corpse.

Wound analysis involves meticulous examination of injuries to determine the cause of death. Many wounds carry telltale signs of their origins.

Gunshot wounds leave circular entry marks on the skin and can even reveal gunpowder residue or even burn marks at close range. Bullet fragments and spray patterns may reveal clues about the type of gun used and trajectory analysis can reveal the direction of a shooter.

Stab wounds leave straight lacerations on the skin and can leave clues on the knife used, including whether it is double-edged or singe-edged or whether it was jagged so as to tear skin. In contrast to knife wounds, blunt force trauma, such as from a hammer, rarely leaves a neat mark causing the skin to break and rip unevenly.

This form of pattern analysis extends to a range of injuries. Serial killer Ted Bundy was captured and convicted partially on the basis of bite marks found one of his victims, Lisa Levy, which reflected his crooked and chipped teeth.

Even the eyes of a corpse can reveal a cause of death. Blood-shot eyes are a key indicator of strangulation.

Forensic pathologists can play a crucial role in solving suspicious deaths.Source:Alamy

TIME OF DEATH

Rough estimates can be given to indicate the time of death from the stage of decomposition.

Dead bodies turn pale due to lack of circulation (Pallor mortis) from 15 minutes to two hours after death. During this time, blood settles with gravity (Livor mortis) from 20 minutes to five hours after death, with internal body temperature decreasing (Algor mortis) at a rate of 2C during the first hour and 1C per hour until the body nears ambient temperature.

Rigor mortis, or the stiffening of limbs, occurs as soon as four hours after death and can maintain the body’s rigidity for about 13 hours after death before decomposition causes the breakdown of muscle tissue.

Corpse rigidity can be used as an indicator that a body has been moved — a key indicator of homicide. This was the case of a young man in India found lying on his back in a field with his arms and leg in an upward, partially sitting pose — indicating he was killed while upright then dumped later.

The final stage of decomposition is putrefaction, which is the gradual breakdown of a corpse with the aid of bacterial activity in the gut. Significant putrefaction is usually notable 48 to 72 hours after death but depends greatly on the environmental temperature. Generally, the hotter it is, the greater rate of decomposition.

The various stages of decay can pinpoint a person’s time of death. Picture: istockSource:istock

HIDDEN EVIDENCE

Many allied forensic disciplines help to examine a dead body in ways not noticeable to the naked eye.

Complex causes of death can be deciphered by analysing corpses’ blood or other fluids, such as the transparent jelly-like tissue behind the eye’s lens. Before sophisticated toxicology testing, deaths by poisoning were often mistaken for natural deaths. This allowed sophisticated serial killers, such as Australia’s Caroline Grills, to accumulate many victims in the early 20th century.

DNA analysis and fingerprint examination are widely praised as tools to catch criminals but are equally helpful in identifying a body. For example, DNA testing was used to identify the skeleton of Matthew Leveson, a young Australian man who went missing in 2007.

Pathology equipment ready for an autopsy. Picture: AlamySource:Alamy

INTERNAL EXAMINATION

Opening up a corpse is often the final stage of a forensic examination of a body, often referred to as an internal autopsy.

An internal autopsy involves a Y-incision being made on the body. The organs are then removed, examined and individually dissected if necessary. Portions of organs can also be sent for further testing and examination under a microscope.

Often, the conclusions reached during internal examination confirm observations made externally or via tests. For example, a man with external head wounds may be documented with severe brain haemorrhage or a woman expected to have died from the effects of longtime alcoholism may have indications of liver cirrhosis.

Sometimes though, a full autopsy discovers something unexpected.

The bodies of Olivier Boudin, 38, and Lucien Perot, 69, were found slumped over a half-eaten meal and two glasses of wine in the French village of Authon-du-Perche last year. The deaths raised suspicions of foul play or accidental poisoning. However, a full autopsy of the men found that Perot had choked to death on a piece of beef and the younger Boudin, who had a congenital heart condition, had died of a heart attack in shock upon seeing his friend’s demise.

This case is a good reminder that not every death is straightforward and shows the crucial role played by forensic pathologists. Indeed, the answers to a mysterious death are often just below the skin’s surface.

— Jarryd Bartle is a lawyer turned consultant and writer on sex, drugs and crime. Follow him on Twitter @JarrydBartle

Egypt shows off stunning newly discovered 4,000-year-old tomb in Saqqara

Egypt has announced the discovery of a 4,400 year old tomb belonging to a senior official from the fifth dynasty of the pharaohs.

Announcing the discovery was Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani, who said the tomb was “exceptionally well preserved” and many statues of different sizes and colours.

The entrance of a newly-discovered tomb, at the Saqqara necropolis, 30 kilometres south of the Egyptian capital Cairo. Picture: Khaled Desouki / AFP.Source:AFP

The Egyptian Archaeological Mission working at the Sacred Animal Necropolis in Saqqara archaeological site succeeded to uncover the tomb. Picture: Amr Nabil / AP PhotoSource:AP

Mustafa Abdo, was the chief of excavation workers. Picture: Amr Nabil / AP PhotoSource:AP

The site of the tomb is in Saqqara, which is south of the Egyptian capital, Cairo. Saqqara is also home to the Step Pyramid.

The tomb reportedly belonged to a high priest named “Wahtye”, who during the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, under the reign of King Neferirkare.

Our experts John & Maria can finally reveal the details of their latest discovery at Geb el Silsila, an intact multiple burial shaft tomb! Further details & press contacts here https://t.co/8j1KsgT31b
Follow @johnwardkt & @DrMariaNilsson for the latest updates! #Egypt pic.twitter.com/JVzzAdcTku

— Nigel J.Hetherington (@Pastpreservers) December 14, 2018

King Neferirkare was the third king of the Fifth Dynasty and he ruled from between 2500-2300 BC, according to AFP.

The tomb is decorated with scenes of the high priest and his family, according to the ministry.

Experts also say the tomb is also decorated in the name of Wahtye’s mother, “Merit Meen”, while his wife’s name was “Weret-Ptah”.

The tomb belonging to the high priest "Wahtye" who served during the fifth dynasty reign of King Neferirkare (between 2500-2300 BC), Picture: Khaled Desouki / AFP.Source:AFP

The well-preserved tomb is decorated with scenes showing the royal priest alongside his mother, wife and other members of his family. Picture: Khaled Desouki / AFP.Source:AFP

Egypt has been keen to promote new archaeological finds since tourist numbers dwindled after the 2011 uprising. Picture: Khaled Desouki / AFP.Source:AFP

According to Britannica, the distribution of tombs came during the Fifth Dynasty, after high officials were no longer considered part of the royal family, while some still did marry princesses.

Tombs were built away from Pyramids and apparently some of the finest tombs can be found in Saqqarah.

VIDEO: Egyptian archaeologists have discovered the tomb of a priest dating back more than 4,400 years in the pyramid complex of Saqqara, south of the capital Cairo https://t.co/Zo51JcH095 pic.twitter.com/eaJYr97RjY

— AFP news agency (@AFP) December 15, 2018

Egypt’s tourism has suffered, ever since the 2011 uprising. Egypt has been keen to promote new archaeological finds in recent years in hopes of attracting more visitors.

With wires

Marathon UN climate change talks end with a deal

Nearly 200 countries have overcome political divisions to agree on rules for implementing a landmark global climate deal, but critics say it is not ambitious enough to prevent the dangerous effects of global warming.

The plenum of representatives from nearly 200 countries have approved a compromise at the UN Climate Conference in the Polish city of Katowice.

Members of the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice protest ahead of the final session of the COP24 summit. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

The sun sets over buildings in Milan, Italy as the climate change conference, COP24, came to a close. Picture: APSource:AP

Delegates had worked beyond the scheduled end to the conference to hash out a rule book for implementing and financing the 2015 Paris Climate Accord.

The head of the conference, Michal Kurtyka, sealed the plenary compromise with a stroke of the gavel.

Mr Kurtyka said that the climate negotiations were not about national interests, but about humanity and responsibility for future generations. The decisions were “1000 small steps forward,” he said.

“You can be proud,” Mr Kurtyka said.

German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze spoke of “an important signal to the world,” adding that there are now joint rules for countries to measure and compare each other’s environmental protection efforts.

“We must make sure that the earth remains inhabitable,” Ms Schulze said.

DELEGATES CLASH

A sticking point among the states was whether to bring in more ambitious climate protection targets before 2020.

UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa, Iran’s head of delegation Majid Shafiepour Motlagh, China’s top climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua, European Union’s climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, COP24 president Michal Kurtyka react at the end of the final session of the COP24 summit on climate change. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

Another stumbling block was a new global pollution rights trading system.

Three years ago it was agreed in Paris that global warming should be kept to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and preferably to less than 1.5 degrees, but countries were to put forward their own plans to cut emissions.

Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change Patricia Espinosa, left, and UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, right, attend the COP24 summit. Picture: APSource:AP

Time is short: The years 2015 to 2018, according to analyses by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), were the four warmest since records began in the 19th century. And the 20 warmest have been in the past 22 years. If things continue as before, we will probably be living in a world that is 3-4 degrees warmer by the end of this century.

Participants take some rest before the end of the final session of the COP24 summit on climate change in Katowice, Poland. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

The fatal consequences, depending on the region, will be more heatwaves, longer droughts and more storms, heavy rain and higher water levels.

Comparability and transparency are important as the Paris Agreement is based on mutual trust and does not provide for sanctions if countries do not make progress.

Deal! In Europe, and working united as Europeans, we have reached a balanced deal on the rules to turn the #ParisAgreement into action. This is a success for multilateralism and the global fight against climate change. #COP24 🇪🇺❤️🌍 pic.twitter.com/a95Yny8a7C

— Miguel Arias Cañete (@MAC_europa) December 15, 2018

Primarily peer pressure is expected to keep everyone on course.

Yet scientists say the measures to phase out polluting energy sources like coal, oil and gas agreed so far fall desperately short of what is needed.

At the COP24 talks, delegates clashed over financing, with poorer countries most affected by climate change demanding recognition of the damage that it causes and long-term financial support.

CHILE TO HOST NEXT

A report from the Global Carbon Project revealed last week that greenhouse-gas emissions in 2018 were projected to rise by at least 2 per cent.

It was the latest of several reports, the most notable of which was the UN IPCC report, which showed that it was unlikely that the world would be able to prevent global warming from stopping at the 1.5-degree mark.

A participants leaves before the end of the final session of the COP24 summit on climate change. Picture: APSource:AP

Ethiopia’s Gebru Jember Endalew, spokesman for the group of poorest countries, called for researchers’ warnings to be taken seriously. “I represent a billion of the people who are most hurt by climate change,” he said.

“We demand justice in order to survive. We are not responsible for the catastrophe that threatens us all.” Greenpeace International’s executive director, Jennifer Morgan, also sounded a critical note.

Students protest under the banner of ‘Fridays for Future’ in front of the Reichstag building, host of the German federal parliament, in Berlin, Germany. Picture: APSource:AP

“A year of climate disasters and a dire warning from the world’s top scientists should have led to so much more. Instead, governments let people down again as they ignored the science and the plight of the vulnerable. Recognising the urgency of raised ambition and adopting a set of rules for climate action is not nearly enough when whole nations face extinction.” “Without immediate action, even the strongest rules will not get us anywhere. People expected action and that is what governments did not deliver,” Ms Morgan said.

“This is morally unacceptable and they must now carry with them the outrage of people and come to the UN Secretary General’s summit in 2019 with higher climate action targets,” the Greenpeace director added.

Chile will host the UN’s next climate conference in December 2019 or January 2020, the country’s Environment Ministry announced on Friday.

Queensland flooding prompts crocodile warning after woman is rescued near one

Queenslander Police have captured the moment they drove past a croc moving across the road during flooding.

The footage shows the crocodile sitting in the opposite lane as they drive past in torrential rain in north Queensland.

“With North Queensland well known ‘croc country’, police near Tully came across a crocodile sitting near the middle of the road last night.

“Officers fortunately were able to avoid the animal however with heavy rains still falling from ex-tropical cyclone Owen, wildlife can be expected to be displaced and may wander onto roadways.”

With heavy rains still falling from ex-tropical cyclone Owen wildlife can be expected to be displaced and may wander onto roadways. https://t.co/catNcDngTn pic.twitter.com/WJjt6zvfqH

— Queensland Police (@QldPolice) December 16, 2018

People on social media said the croc would have come out better than the car had the police hit it.

“Just another day in Australia,” they wrote.

Queenslanders been warned to watch out for crocodiles in the wake of “incredible” rainfall from ex-tropical Cyclone Owen.

The system has been downgraded to a tropical low, but there is a low chance it could re-form later off the state’s east coast.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said large reptiles had been spotted in the floodwaters and urged people to take precautions.

“There are a lot of crocodiles that are being sighted at the moment so be careful on the roads and please don’t go near the crocodiles,” Premier Palaszczuk said.

Police confirmed at least one crocodile was spotted close to a woman who was rescued from floodwater on Saturday night.

A crocodile spotted swimming in flood waters behind Rosebery Primary School last year.Source:Supplied

Cyclone Owen weakened as it passed near the Gulf of Carpentaria, and on Sunday morning was about 80km offshore near Cooktown.

There a low chance it will re-form into a tropical cyclone in the Coral Sea on Tuesday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The bureau said the heaviest falls were at Halifax, east of Ingham, which recorded 681mm of rainfall. Also, wind gusts up to 100km/h were recorded at Lucinda.

Flash flooding is expected to remain a threat with more than a dozen roads closed to traffic including the Bruce Highway between Ingham and Cardwell and also between Townsville and Ingham.

The barely visible crocodile warning sign at flooded Normanton.Source:Supplied

The bureau has issued flood warnings for the Herbert and Bohle rivers and is closely monitoring the Horton, Don and Pioneer rivers in Far North Queensland.

A second front of severe weather is moving through southeast Queensland.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued has issued thunderstorm warnings for both north Queensland’s central coast and the southeast corner as slow moving cells produce heavy rain.

Residents are urged to follow emergency service advice until the system dissipates.

Dashcam captures scary moment a car takes out a cyclists as riders call for more distance from drivers

This is the terrifying moment a cyclist stops at a set of traffic lights in Sydney before getting cleaned up by a car that goes on to clip a pedestrian and another vehicle.

The horrific incident was captured on a bus’s dashcam, with an internal camera showing the driver and passengers shocked reactions as they witness the scene unfold in front of them.

The car then runs the red light before narrowly missing a pedestrian, who jumps out of the way just in time, and hits another vehicle travelling through a green light.

A bus dashcam captured the terrifying moment ran a red light. Picture: 7 NewsSource:Supplied

READ MORE: Truth about this bike rider behaviour that drivers absolutely hate

The incident took place in Surry Hills, Sydney, in October.

Steffen Eaurby, of State Transit, told 7 News Sydney dashcam footage was used as evidence in police cases, particularly for cyclists themselves.

“We capture a lot of situations in traffic where things go wrong or are close to going wrong,” he said.

“A lot of cyclists use this where they capture the situations exactly when it happens.”

7 News Sydney reported the driver tested positive for methamphetamine.

Eight cyclists have died on New South Wales roads this year.

Bus drivers say they support the new 1m gap rule between bikes and vehicles.

But cycling groups don’t think it’s enough and some are calling for police to set up a dedicated patrol unit.

A pedestrian was caught unaware, seen in the top left corner crossing the road. Picture: 7 NewsSource:Supplied

He jumps out of the way just in time. Picture: 7 NewsSource:Supplied

There’s little love lost between most motorists and cyclists in Australia, and drivers have a long list of gripes about how some riders behave.

A campaign by news.com.au, highlighting the legacy of safety activist Cameron Frewer, who was hit by a car and killed last month, has raised plenty of complaints by readers.

Before this death, Mr Frewer campaigned for greater awareness of safe pass laws.

The 44-year-old father of three believed police were turning a blind eye to drivers breaking the law.

Following news.com.au’s campaign, senior ministers within the Queensland Government pledged support for the safe pass issue to be closely examined.

A powerful government agency will probe allegations that lax policing has put the lives of countless cyclists at risk.

It’s a law many believe could have prevented Mr Frewer’s death on the Sunshine Coast.

The Queensland Government will support the referral of submissions to the Crime and Corruption Commission to examine how adequately authorities have enforced a law requiring motorists to leave a safe distance when passing bicycle riders.

Storm cell batters Hobart with thunderstorms hitting Tasmania

Hobart was lashed with 26mm of rain in just an hour-and-a-half last night as severe thunderstorms battered the Tasmanian capital.

And in Leslie Vale, southeast Hobart, the rain fell at an alarming rate with 12mm in 16 minutes reported by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).

The severe storm cell moved over the CBD at around 6.30pm, bringing heavy rainfall to the city and its surrounds. Hailstones measuring about 2cm in diameter fell at Brighton, north of Hobart.

The rain is really coming down with these storms in #Hobart Please take care on the roads. All current warnings at https://t.co/1MVVpQqVQ3 @SESTasmania @BOM_au pic.twitter.com/HGBpfLIy5c

— Bureau of Meteorology, Tasmania (@BOM_Tas) December 16, 2018

Police were urging people to be careful amid the danger of flash flooding.

As the storm hit, Tasmania Police tweeted: “Several roads in southern Tasmania are flooded due to the severe thunderstorm. Motorists are asked to exercise extreme caution and please avoid travel where possible in the greater Hobart area.”

That creek isn’t supposed to be there #Hobart #storm pic.twitter.com/5DNCRqUaAf

— Matt (@MattCrawford77) December 16, 2018

The BOM also issued flood warnings for the South Esk region east of Launceston in the north of the state, with some minor flooding in St Pauls River.

On Friday, the SES was preparing for a busy weekend with the forecast wild weather.

“We are working closely with the BOM to monitor the weather situation, which is difficult to predict in terms of the location that will be most impacted,” SES acting regional manager north Michael D’Alton said at the time.

Residents were advised to take basic precautions including avoiding driving, checking on neighbours and being prepared for power outages.

It was a weekend of extreme weather around the country, with severe storms causing damage to parts of Sydney and the NSW Central Coast, and “zombie” Cyclone Owen heading back down the Queensland coastline, bringing torrential rain and flash flooding to the state.

One man was killed at popular picnic and swimming spot Big Crystal Creek, about 75km north of Townsville, when he was swept away by the raging floodwaters.

He was pulled out of the water by emergency services workers, but paramedics on the scene were unable to revive him.

Cameras to nab texting drivers in New South Wales

This driver might have been more brazen, but Sydney drivers sneaking a glimpse at their mobile phones may want to reconsider.

World-first technology capable of catching drivers illegally using their phones will be piloted at two locations in the city.

In May New South Wales became the first state to pass laws allowing the red-light cameras capable of detecting drivers using mobile phones.

Roads Minister Melinda Pavey launched the trial that uses the Australian-developed technology on Sunday, following a successful testing phase.

Australian company Acusensus will trial the hi-tech cameras on the M4 and Anzac Parade from January.

Mrs Pavey said during the month long test period in October, more than 11,000 drivers a day were detected using a mobile phone illegally.

“Shockingly, one driver was pictured with two hands on his phone while his passenger steered the car travelling at 80km/h, putting everyone on the road at risk,” she said.

Acusensus was one of three technology companies that took part in a four-week testing period in October.

A motorist captured on his mobile phone while the passenger drives the car about 80km/h down the M4.Source:News Corp Australia

No fines will be issued during the trial period.

The new system uses high-definition cameras and artificial intelligence and can operate both day and night and in all weather conditions.

“If at the end of the trial, the technology proves to be foolproof, the community will be made aware of its permanent use,” Mrs Pavey said.

She said 74 per cent of the NSW community supported the use of cameras to enforce mobile phone offences.

“I strongly believe this technology will change driver behaviour and save lives,” she said.

Alex Jannink from Acusensus said he was motivated to create mobile phone use detection cameras after his friend was killed in a horrific crash a few days before Christmas.

“Since my friend James was killed by an impaired and phone distracted driver five years ago, I have had a strong desire to develop this technology to save lives,” he said.

The cameras will be trialled in January.Source:News Corp Australia

An NRMA report released in November suggested illegal phone use behind the wheel was the number one safety fear for drivers.

Some 72 per cent of survey respondents nominated it as a fear, compared to 56 per cent who mentioned drink driving.

Earlier this year a group of Queensland cyclists called on tech giants Apple and Google to use their power to stamp out distracted driving after a cycling buddy lost the use of his legs as the result of a driver distracted by her mobile phone.

In August 2016, Graham Walters was hit by car and thrown 30m after the female driver reached for her phone. He miraculously survived but is now paraplegic.

Apple and Google already have settings on their smartphone operating systems that allow you to disable distracting notifications while driving but users have to go into settings and turn them on.

They called for them to change the settings to opt-out only.

Queensland flooding prompts crocodile warning after woman is rescued near one

Queenslander Police have captured the moment they drove past a croc moving across the road during flooding.

The footage shows the crocodile sitting in the opposite lane as they drive past in torrential rain in north Queensland.

“With North Queensland well known ‘croc country’, police near Tully came across a crocodile sitting near the middle of the road last night.

“Officers fortunately were able to avoid the animal however with heavy rains still falling from ex-tropical cyclone Owen, wildlife can be expected to be displaced and may wander onto roadways.”

With heavy rains still falling from ex-tropical cyclone Owen wildlife can be expected to be displaced and may wander onto roadways. https://t.co/catNcDngTn pic.twitter.com/WJjt6zvfqH

— Queensland Police (@QldPolice) December 16, 2018

People on social media said the croc would have come out better than the car had the police hit it.

“Just another day in Australia,” they wrote.

Queenslanders been warned to watch out for crocodiles in the wake of “incredible” rainfall from ex-tropical Cyclone Owen.

The system has been downgraded to a tropical low, but there is a low chance it could re-form later off the state’s east coast.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said large reptiles had been spotted in the floodwaters and urged people to take precautions.

“There are a lot of crocodiles that are being sighted at the moment so be careful on the roads and please don’t go near the crocodiles,” Premier Palaszczuk said.

Police confirmed at least one crocodile was spotted close to a woman who was rescued from floodwater on Saturday night.

A crocodile spotted swimming in flood waters behind Rosebery Primary School last year.Source:Supplied

Cyclone Owen weakened as it passed near the Gulf of Carpentaria, and on Sunday morning was about 80km offshore near Cooktown.

There a low chance it will re-form into a tropical cyclone in the Coral Sea on Tuesday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The bureau said the heaviest falls were at Halifax, east of Ingham, which recorded 681mm of rainfall. Also, wind gusts up to 100km/h were recorded at Lucinda.

Flash flooding is expected to remain a threat with more than a dozen roads closed to traffic including the Bruce Highway between Ingham and Cardwell and also between Townsville and Ingham.

The barely visible crocodile warning sign at flooded Normanton.Source:Supplied

The bureau has issued flood warnings for the Herbert and Bohle rivers and is closely monitoring the Horton, Don and Pioneer rivers in Far North Queensland.

A second front of severe weather is moving through southeast Queensland.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued has issued thunderstorm warnings for both north Queensland’s central coast and the southeast corner as slow moving cells produce heavy rain.

Residents are urged to follow emergency service advice until the system dissipates.

Queensland flooding from return of ex-tropical Cyclone Owen claims man’s life

A man has died after being swept away in floodwaters in Far North Queensland.

Emergency services, including a rescue helicopter and swift-water rescue crews, responded to calls to the popular picnic and swimming spot of Big Crystal Creek, 75km north of Townsville, at around 4.15pm (AEST) today.

The man was pulled from the water with CPR performed by paramedics but he could not be saved.

The area has had torrential rain as ex-tropical Cyclone Owen made its presence felt.