Most road casualties in 2019 were close to home

By Jared Prestwidge

THE Victorian Government said it planned to double down on its investment in road safety after it was confirmed the majority of the 146 deaths on regional Victorian roads last year were people driving in their local area.

According to the latest road trauma data, nearly three quarters of the people killed last year died close to their home address, with run-off-road and head-on crashes resulting in 94 fatalities while 101 people were killed in high-speed zones.

Head of Road Safety Victoria Robyn Seymour said regional Victorians must not be complacent while on the road, especially in an area with which they are familiar.

“There’s a misconception that crashes happen on country roads because the driver isn’t familiar with the area — but the tragic reality is that in most cases, it’s local people dying on roads near their home,” she said.

More than 340 km of safety barriers are planned to be rolled out in addition to the 2300 km already installed on high-risk roads, to help prevent head-on and run-off road crashes.

The total number of crashes resulting in deaths and serious injuries on roads with safety barriers has almost halved since the works began.

During 2019, barriers across the state were hit 3307 times — representing thousands of potential serious or fatal crashes avoided.

Acting Minister for Roads, Road Safety and the TAC Jacinta Allan said people dying on our roads was a preventable tragedy.

“Every death on our roads is an unacceptable and preventable tragedy and regional Victorians remain overrepresented in lives lost,” she said.

“That’s why we’re cracking down on dangerous driving, continuing our massive investment in lifesaving road safety infrastructure and working on Victoria’s next road safety strategy.”