YOUNG drivers are finally heeding the safe driving message, with a significant drop in the number road deaths between the ages of 18 and 25 last year.
Transport Accident Commission (TAC) statistics show the sharp drop in that age group from 64 deaths in 2012 to 37 deaths in 2013.
In 1989, 220 people in the same age bracket were killed on the roads.
As printed in The Courier earlier this week, the official Victorian road toll ended with 242 deaths for 2013, down from 282 in the previous year.
The figure included declines in most age groups.
TAC road safety manager Liz Waller said the decline showed the graduated licensing system and some of the restrictions it imposed on young drivers, which came into action in 2008, were working.
She said the new licensing system, combined with a strong advertising campaign, better roads, appropriate speed limits and police enforcement had all resulted in the consistent decline.
“The outcome from last year is pleasing but we still have work to do,” she said.
“We are not here to celebrate this. We can recognise that some good work has happened but we still have a lot of work to do because we don’t want any families to go through the trauma.
“We have been working very hard to get it to where it is, but we need to work even harder to get it to where no family has to go through it.”
The statistics show 15 people died on the roads between the ages of 18 and 20, compared with 30 in 2012.
Between the ages of 21 and 25, 22 people died on the roads last year in comparison to 34 in 2012.
Stress Less Driving School instructor Darryl Harbour said he had seen the improvement in young drivers and believed they were more attentive.
Elderly Victorians bucked the trend of general decline with a sharp 28 per cent rise in over 70s road deaths last year.