Push to reduce the road toll after horrific year on local roads

By Morgan Dyer

Seven lives were tragically lost on Greater Shepparton roads last year, part of the horror total of 263 people killed on Victorian roads.

Fatal crashes were up across every road user group including drivers and passengers, and vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and motorcyclists.

Speeding, drink and drug driving, distraction, fatigue and not wearing seat belts were common contributing factors to the increased road toll.

Shepparton Highway Patrol Sergeant Janne Kennedy said police would continue to work with the government to achieve the statewide aim of zero lives lost.

“Summer is always a high risk time for accidents,” Sgt Kennedy said.

“We have and will continue to hit the roads hard this summer.”

Victorian rural roads saw a 36 per cent increase in deaths, with 148 lives lost in 2019 compared to 109 in 2018.

Sgt Kennedy said there were several factors that contributed to the high number of lives lost on country roads.

“Firstly, rural road users drive long distances at higher speeds with fatigue a major factor in the crashes,” she said.

“But a number of other factors including wildlife and a greater proportion of intersections at high speed areas contribute to the road toll.”

The Shepparton Highway Patrol will follow the statewide 2020 police operation aim of getting the road toll to zero and reducing overall road trauma.

Roads and Road Safety Minister Jaala Pulford said a number of strategies had been enforced in order to help achieve the goal of zero road deaths.

“We’re cracking down on dangerous driving, building safer roads and working on the next road safety strategy,” she said.

“But every Victorian has a role to play: to stop speeding, to put the phone away and drive safely.”