Victorians are being asked to take extra care on the roads these school holidays after a tragic start to the year.
Already this year 90 people have died on Victoria’s roads, with 59 of those deaths happening in regional areas across Victoria. This time last year there had been 58 deaths across Victoria, with 31 lives lost on regional roads.
Minister for Roads and Minister for Road Safety and the TAC Jaala Pulford joined Transport Accident Commission CEO Joe Calafiore to call on Victorians to help put a stop to this tragic period and drive safely during the school holidays.
Victoria is set for a busy April on the roads, with two weeks of school holidays followed by an Easter break and ANZAC Day. All road users are being urged to make safe choices on the road throughout the month.
Last year Victoria recorded its lowest ever number road deaths in a calendar year, but 2019 has already shown that there is no room for complacency.
Regional roads and country people are still over-represented in road deaths and this is why the Andrews Labor Government is continuing to invest in road safety infrastructure on the state’s highest-risk roads.
Since 2016, the Labor Government has been upgrading the safety of 20 high-risk regional roads as part of the $1.4-billion Towards Zero Action Plan.
In February the Government announced safety upgrades to another sixteen high-risk roads across the state, thanks to a further $340-million investment. This includes eight roads in regional Victoria.
In an immediate bid to curb the trauma on our roads, Victoria Police last week launched Operation Kinetic – a 10-week operation funded by the TAC which will see 300 additional road policing shifts across Victoria, with a focus on regional areas.
Around two thirds of people who die in crashes on regional roads are people who live in regional Victoria – country people die on country roads.
As noted by Minister for Roads, Road Safety and TAC Jaala Pulford
“We are deeply concerned about the heartbreaking start to the year on our roads and one of our biggest concerns is the disproportionate number of deaths in regional areas.”
“We’re urging all Victorians to look out for each other on the roads, plan ahead, be patient and make safe choices to ensure everyone gets to where they’re going safely.”
As noted by Transport Accident Commission Chief Executive Officer Joe Calafiore
“Most of the deaths on our roads this year have been a result of a simple mistake, and on a high-speed regional road, mistakes often lead to fatal consequences.”
“Our message to motorists is to ease up and make safe decisions when they’re using the roads – avoid fatigue, avoiding drink and drug driving, avoid distractions and slow down.”