The terrible news to end 2016 is the message on road safety is just not getting through.
Ballarat is facing the worst road toll for the region in decades. For our region alone it is a shocking four times what it was last year.
The latest local fatality was tragically on Christmas Day with a 37-year-old man died in hospital after his car left the road, ending up in the front yard of a house at Clunes,
The toll in regional Victoria has grown steadily worse as the year has gone on.
The latest fatality was on Wednesday after a man lost control of his car and crashed into a tree in Natya,north of Swan Hill.
His death is the sixth over the holiday period.
This followed deaths in Somerville, Portarlington, Teddywaddy West and Corio since Christmas.
Victoria's road toll for 2016 stands at 288, compared with 249 deaths for the same time last year.
But in a year in which nearly 40 more than at the same time last year – the results of a Christmas Blitz show how many continue to flout the road rules.
There were 280 offences across Ballarat alone during the first 10 days of Victoria Police’s much-publicised Operation Roadside blitz.
The Christmas-New Year crackdown on driving offences has seen police officers out in force on the region’s roads – and not just the major highways.
Despite repeated pleas to party responsibly or leave the car at home, no less than 28 people have been nabbed drink-driving.
This was the highest recording of any regional area and shows even despite the success of such long running campaigns as “If you drink drive, you are a bloody idiot‘, there are still people stupid enough to think ‘one quick trip with a few too many wont matter‘.
Ignorance is no excuse and the success of campaigns is proof; since 1989, the Victorian road toll has more than halved.
In a terrible irony in the year following the TAC launch of its Towards Zero campaign the road toll is the highest since 2010 and in Ballarat appears to be going backwards.
But if our message seems repetitive, it is because in these last two days of the year if one person hears its mantra and thinks again, acts more safely and a death is avoided, it is worthwhile.
That leaves 2017 and a major challenge ahead.
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