Fewer deaths on country roads

THE man in charge of reducing Ballarat’s road toll says the regional city can expect a significant reduction in road deaths for 2012 after the preliminary figures were released yesterday.

Although region specific information won’t be available until February 1, the 2012 Victorian road toll finished at 279, eight lower than the previous year.

Country road deaths reduced by 3.2 per cent to 152, while metropolitan deaths dropped by 1.5 per cent.

Ballarat Highway Patrol Senior Sergeant Pat Cleary said the same downward trend had occurred in the Ballarat area.

“We’ve had a reduction in our road trauma which we’re extremely pleased about,” he said.

“The bottom line is that it’s our intention for this reduction to continue and it’s so important that we all remain focused. It’s not just a police issue it’s a community issue.”

Young people continue to be over represented in road trauma with 59 of those killed aged between 18 and 24.

Meanwhile motorcyclists and pillion passengers accounted for 38 fatalities, a decrease of 17 per cent.

Senior Sergeant Cleary said the police presence on Ballarat’s roads remained high in 2012 with several targeted campaigns.

“Throughout the year we maintained our efforts with multiple drink drive operations, multiple speed operations and we had a particular focus on distraction,” he said.

“Mobile phone use is a bane, it’s something we need to address quickly otherwise we’ll find that it’s one of the main instigators to distraction, which we know ultimately causes that much of our road trauma.”

Assistant Commissi-oner for Road Policing Robert Hill said that while the reductions across many categories were promising, 279 families would enter the new year without parents, siblings and partners.

“Road trauma tears families and local communities apart and my thoughts are with those people whose lives will never be the same having lost loved ones on our roads,” Mr Hill said.

“The work our police and road safety partners at the TAC, VicRoads and the Department of Justice do alongside the efforts of thousands of Victorians has played a large part in cutting more than 250 lives off the road toll in this state over the past 22 years.”

evan.schuurman@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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