The Andrews Labor Government has declared 2017 Victoria’s year of action against road fatalities, after a third straight year of increased road deaths.
Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan joined representatives from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), VicRoads and Victoria Police to reflect on a tragic year on the state’s roads.
Last year 291 people lost their lives, 39 more than in 2015.
During 2017, Victorian drivers will see record levels of investment in safe roads infrastructure and road policing as the Government’s $1.2 billion Towards Zero Action Plan rolls out across the state.
Thousands of kilometres of flexible roadside barriers and other life-saving infrastructure will continue to be installed on high risk, high volume 100km/hour roads.
The installation of the 330km of flexible barriers is expected to reduce run-off-road and head-on crashes by up to 85 per cent on these sections.
Country Victorians are four times more likely to be killed and 40 per cent more likely to be seriously injured on regional Victorian roads, but these barriers have already started saving lives on the Melba Highway where a centre line wire rope barrier was first trialled in Victoria.
Motorcycle rider fatalities were the biggest contributor to the rise last year, up 90 per cent compared to 2015. Risky behaviours including speed, illicit drug use, lack of protective gear and unlicensed riding were responsible for the majority of rider deaths.
The 2016 Holiday season saw a greater police presence on the road with money fast-tracked from a new $12 million TAC-funded enforcement program which helped to deliver the most visible police presence with an additional 1,300 police shifts on Victoria’s roads leading up to Christmas.
The TAC is working on a number of new campaigns for 2017 including a major effort to deter drug driving.
Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said: “There will never be an acceptable number of deaths on our roads and 2016 was a tragic year. That’s why we are always looking at ways to help Victorians consider their choices so they can be there for their loved ones.”