Regional Victoria has recorded its lowest number of road deaths since records began, but the 109 lives lost on country roads last year is still 109 too many.
Victorian Roads and Road Safety Minister Jaala Pulford last week joined representatives from the Transport Accident Commission and Regional Roads to reflect on road trauma in regional Victoria in 2018.
Data released by the Transport Accident Commission shows 109 people lost their lives on Victoria’s regional roads in 2018, 47 fewer than in 2017 and 29 less than the previous record low of 138 in 2008.
Despite this, people are still far more likely to die on country roads, which is why the Andrews Government says it is continuing to install life-saving road safety infrastructure like flexible safety barriers.
Ms Pulford said with about 1500km of barriers rolled out, thousands of barrier hits recorded across the state and a steep reduction in deaths on high-speed regional roads in 2018, this infrastructure was reducing the severity of crashes and saving lives.
Deaths on high-speed regional roads dropped significantly last year, with 67 people losing their lives on 100km/h roads compared with 119 in 2017.
The number of single-vehicle and head-on crashes have also dropped across the state, but they remain the leading causes of fatal crashes in regional Victoria.
Head-on crashes resulted in 21 deaths and 53 people died in a single-vehicle crash on the roadside, down from 37 head-on crashes and 72 single-vehicle crashes in 2017.
Young driver deaths (aged 18 to 25) reduced dramatically in 2018, with 14 deaths compared with 31 in 2017.
In 2018, Victoria also introduced the toughest penalties for drink and drug driving in Australia, and introduced tough new sanctions for high-level speeding, as part of sweeping changes to make the roads safer.
Ms Pulford said any reduction in the number of people dying on our roads was always welcome, but the sad fact remained that there were far too many rural families starting the new year without a loved one.