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Lowest ever annual road deaths, but still far too many

Victoria has recorded its lowest number of road deaths since records began, but the 214 lives lost on our roads last year is still 214 too many.

Minister for Roads, Road Safety and the TAC Jaala Pulford today joined representatives from the Transport Accident Commission, VicRoads and Victoria Police to reflect on road trauma in Victoria in 2018.

Last year 214 people lost their lives on Victorian roads, 45 less than in 2017 and 29 fewer than the previous record low of 243 in 2013.

The Victorian Government’s $1.4-billion four-year Towards Zero Action Plan reached the half way mark in 2018, aiming to reduce the number of lives lost on our roads to fewer than 200 by 2020.

While the record low road deaths in 2018 highlights that Victoria is moving in the right direction with its approach to road safety, history shows that there is no room for complacency.

One of the most notable trends from the past year has been the reduction in the deaths on high-speed regional roads. Regional roads claimed the most lives in 2017, with 156 deaths - that number dropped to 108 in 2018.

However, country people are still over-represented in road deaths and that’s why the Victorian Government is continuing to invest in road safety infrastructure on the state’s highest-risk roads, including the rollout of flexible safety barriers.

With around 1500 kilometres 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 is reducing the severity of crashes and saving lives.

Of the 106 people killed on metropolitan roads in 2018, 32 were pedestrians. Overall, 38 pedestrians died across Victoria last year, an increase on the 31 who died in 2017. These deaths mainly occurred in built-up areas.

Seven cyclists lost their lives in Victorian road crashes last year, down from 12 deaths in 2017, and five of those fatalities happened on metropolitan roads. The Victorian Government is investing in infrastructure that keeps cyclists and pedestrians safe through its $100 million Safer Cyclists and Pedestrians Fund.

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 our roads safer.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Roads, Road Safety and the TAC, Jaala Pulford

“Any reduction in the number of people dying on our roads is welcome but the fact remains that hundreds of Victorian families will start 2019 without loved ones – we have to do more and that’s why the Andrews Labor Government will continue to invest in the things that we know save lives on our roads.”

“While this result indicates that Victoria is moving in the right direction with our approach to road safety, it is of no comfort to the families and friends of the people who died on our roads last year.

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