Road fatalities drop but country roads are still a concern

VICTORIA is set to reach its lowest annual road toll on record. 

The 2013 state-wide road toll stood at 242 fatalities yesterday, 37 down on 2012 and a 14 per cent drop, according to the TAC. 

However, Ballarat’s road toll has doubled to four compared with 2012 despite falling under the 10-year average of five fatalities.

The majority of road deaths occurred on Victoria’s rural roads, where 146 people were killed – 48 higher than the metropolitan area.

Ballarat and surrounding local government areas of Pyrenees, Golden Plains, Moorabool and Hepburn have had 16 road deaths this year – a 33 per cent increase on last year.

The traditionally high 18 to 25 age bracket has seen the most significant reduction of any other age group where the road toll was reduced by 26 deaths to 37, according to the TAC.

However, the same cannot be said for older drivers, particularly over 70, where a 28 per cent increase has been recorded with 60 road deaths.

Ballarat Highway Patrol Senior Sergeant Pat Cleary said the rural figures reflected a need for communities to combine their efforts to drive down the road toll.

“The bottom line is, the area hasn’t seen the same reductions in road trauma in line with the rest of the state, which simply highlights our need to work together,” he said

“The community and everyone that uses the roads must work together to ensure the roads remain safe, and our efforts focus on reducing the road trauma.

Senior Sergeant Cleary urged motorists to remain alert while behind the wheel throughout the holiday period.

“Police are maintaining their efforts on the roads, but we still have a long way to go for that holiday period,” he said.

“We ask motorists to have patience and consideration for other road users, to remain alert and concentrate, particularly on the busy roads. 

“Road trauma is everybody’s responsibility and we need to work together to reduce it.” 

A tragic week leading up to the Christmas break saw three people die in one day in car accidents in Lismore and Maryborough.

david.jeans@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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