News

Record low road toll still too high according to police

By Myles Peterson

Five people lost their lives on roads in the Greater Shepparton region last year, contributing to 214 fatalities in Victoria.

While Victoria Police was unhappy with even one life lost, last year proved to be the lowest road toll in recent history.

Shepparton Highway Patrol Sergeant Janne Kennedy acknowledged the improvement but remained reserved.

‘‘Our fatals were down for 2018 by three; it’s not enough — we still have families and communities impacted. We’re still driving our road toll towards zero,’’ she said.

Head of Victorian road policing operations Superintendent John Fitzpatrick said the downward trend in deaths was ‘‘encouraging’’, but there was still much more work to be done.

‘‘The fact that there were 45 fewer lives lost in 2018 will be of no comfort to those who are mourning someone who was precious to them. My thoughts are with all those who have lost a loved one,’’ he said.

‘‘We should also remember that while there are fewer fatalities, thousands of Victorians suffer serious and life-changing injuries on our roads each year. This is the hidden cost of road trauma.’’

Supt Fitzpatrick attributed the reduced toll to education programs and better safety measures.

‘‘(The) reasons for the reduced number of lives lost include the work done by the Transport Accident Commission to educate road users about safety and VicRoads’ work to make roads safer through measures such as wire median barriers,’’ Supt Fitzpatrick said.

‘‘Victoria Police officers have also been working very hard to ensure everyone on our roads is safe through enforcement and education.’’

The reduced toll was made up entirely by a reduction in fatalities on rural and regional roads.

Lives lost on country roads saw a drop of 30 per cent, down from 154 deaths in 2017 to 108 last year.

Deaths on Melbourne’s roads remained steady in 2018 at 106, compared to 105 in 2017.

Males were more at risk with 155 dying, compared to 59 females; 75 male drivers died compared to 22 female drivers.

Despite many more vehicles on our roads, the toll was less than half that of 1990 when 548 people lost their lives.