Police keen to not see repeat of 18 road deaths

Holiday blitz: Police have issued a critical road safety alert for the next two weeks. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

A critical road safety alert has been issued by Victoria Police as the state enters an especially high-risk period for death and serious injury.

Eighteen lives were lost in just two weeks at the same time last year and police are concerned about a repeat, especially as winter weather reduces visibility and creates hazardous driving conditions.

As of June 16, Victoria’s road toll stood at 112 – 17 higher than the same time last year.

Distraction and speed were last year cited as the most common underlying factors in fatal crashes during the period of concern, spanning from June 19 to July 4.

Speed was a contributor in a third of the collisions, with vehicles failing to negotiate the road at speed and collisions with other vehicles at speed the most common.

A quarter of fatalities involved pedestrians, with poor visibility the major contributor.

Collisions between motor vehicles and motorcycles resulted in three fatalities during the period.

Distraction and fatigue were also suspected in several of the fatalities, with some drivers drifting on to the wrong side of the road and colliding with trees or other vehicles.

Police are determined to avoid a repeat of these concerning road trauma trends and are urging motorists to take extra care.

Their plea follows a statewide road policing operation over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, which detected more than 5000 traffic offences.

Police will remain highly visible across the state’s roads in the lead-up to and during the school holidays.

Road Policing Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir said now was not the time to be complacent when getting behind the wheel.

“Slowing down, remaining alert and being extra cautious when roads are wet or visibility is affected are simple, but life-saving measures all motorists can take to protect themselves and other road users,” he said.

“Police will remain highly visible and on the lookout for any risky driver behaviour.

“We are determined to do everything we can to ensure this period does not become synonymous with road trauma.”