Every two hours someone is killed or hospitalised in a road crash across Victoria. In 2015, 252 people died as a result of road trauma.
In a new approach to road safety, Premier Daniel Andrews and the Minister for Roads and Road Safety today launched Towards Zero 2016-2020 with the goal of reducing road deaths to below 200 by 2020.
The approach also seeks to reduce serious injuries by 15 per cent, which impacted 4951 people in 2014/15.
The $1 billon investment aims to save lives across the state as part of Victoria’s Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan.
Victorians are four times more likely to be killed on country roads where the speeds are higher and any mistake can have deadly consequences.
A $340 million investment will address known crash black spots on more than 2,500 kilometres of rural and regional roads across the state.
Twenty high risk rural roads with significant crash histories have already been prioritised under the package, including the Hume Freeway/Highway (between Thomastown and Wodonga), Calder Freeway (between Keilor Park and Bendigo) and Geelong-Bacchus Marsh Road (between Geelong and Bacchus Marsh).
On these three roads alone, 42 people have lost their lives and 358 people have been seriously injured in the past five years.
The installation of 330km of flexible barriers on high risk, high volume 100km/hour roads is expected to reduce run-off road and head-on crashes by up to 85 per cent on these sections.
On popular motorcycle routes, additional protection will be added to make the barriers safer for motorcyclists.
$60 million will go towards road safety improvements in metropolitan Melbourne to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries that happen in local streets and at main intersections.
In recent years, around 20 per cent of drivers killed in road crashes had a blood alcohol content equal to or greater than 0.05. As part of the strategy, all drink drivers caught over the limit will be required to drive vehicles fitted with alcohol interlocks.
It also builds on the Government’s work to reduce drink and drug driving with 10 new booze buses and roadside drug testing expanded to 100,000 tests a year. It is expected to increase the number of motorists required to use alcohol interlocks from 10,700 to 13,300 per year.
The Government will take the lead in promoting vehicle technology in a push to get safer vehicles on Victorian roads.
From 2018, all Government vehicles must have a five star ANCAP rating and may, in addition, include safety measures such as auto-emergency braking, advisory speed alerting technology, lane departure warning or lane keep assist.
This will help to ensure that these become standard features, available on the wider market as these vehicles circulate out of the government fleet.
The $146 million Young Driver Safety Package is made up of a suite of initiatives, including the road safety education complex, practical safe driving program, L2P Learner Driver Mentor Program, free licence scheme, community grants, a communication fund and student forums.
Along with the loss of life, physical trauma and the emotional and health impacts, road trauma in Victoria is estimated to cost more than $3 billion per year.
Quotes attributable to Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews
"There will never be an acceptable number of deaths on our roads. But an ambitious target and an aggressive strategy will help save lives."
"Road trauma has taken too many lives, and left too many families heartbroken. We need a radical change in our approach."
Quotes attributable to Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan
"We’ve come a long way in reducing road trauma, but we won’t continue to see a reduction in deaths and serious injuries without a fundamental change to our approach."
"The increasing number of fatalities on our roads is alarming. Reducing the toll to below 200 within five years is the most ambitious road safety target in Victoria’s history."
Reviewed 19 August 2020