On of Victoria’s top cops has asked where the community outrage is over our shocking road toll.
Acting Assistant Commissioner for road policing Michael Grainger said communities needed to get a grasp of the volume of people dying on the roads.
“Our community is prepared to accept mobility over safety. That’s a real challenge for us. What do we do when we’re predicting 299 people killed on our roads this year, potentially?” he said.
“(Comparatively) two-hundred and two (people) total killed in (in the Bali bombing). And the outrage that gripped our community after that, understandably, was palpable.”
Victoria’s road chiefs came to the Ballarat region on Thursday for the Towards Zero Road Safety Leadership Symposium.
The heads of VicRoads, TAC , Victoria Police’s road division and the Sheriff’s Department all said drivers did not recognise the danger they were in on the road and the significance of making good decisions.
VicRoads CEO John Merritt said they were also changing roads so motorists were less likely to die by making a simple mistake.
He raised the example of a fatal crash this week in which a man in a decade-old van died just from being in wrong place at the wrong time.
“(The other driver) has made a mistake, and the ridiculously disproportionate consequence of that is something that the community lives with,” he said.
TAC CEO Joe Calafiore said people underestimated the risks on country roads.
“The hard truth is you’re four times more likely to die on a country road than you are in metropolitan Melbourne,” Mr Calafiore said.
“You’re actually quite vulnerable in your car. You get in your car, it’s warm, you’ve got the radio. Victorians in effect (underestimate) how vulnerable you are in your car.”
“The reality is, if you’re at 80km/h or 100km/h and you have an accident, the consequences are either fatal or very very serious.”
Mr Merritt said they needed community support for safety measures, like lowering speed limits, especially as the road toll climbs again.
“If we have to go in the trenches, every time we want to drop a speed limit, even when it’s blindingly obvious there’s carnage on that strip of road we’re not going to get anywhere,” he said.