This month marks momentous steps that have been taken in an ongoing journey to improve road safety and eliminate all road deaths in Victoria. As we take a moment to remember the 211 lives lost on Victorian roads last year, it is clear that we still have miles to go in improving road safety to avoid these preventable deaths.
Last week we saw landmarks and bridges across Victoria lit up in yellow and drivers travelling with headlights on all day to shine a light on road safety for the National Road Safety Week which recognises the devastating impact that road trauma has on the community.
That momentum is carried forward this week to an annual campaign by the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) for a “Fatality Free Friday” this Friday, 28 May 2021, to increase community awareness around road safety. Together we can help them realise their goal of having a Fatality Free Friday by taking extra caution on the roads this Friday.
However, the most significant progress in this area has been the Victorian government’s launch of the Victorian Road Safety Action Plan 2021 – 2023, the first step in the Victorian Road Safety Strategy 2021 – 2030. This Strategy broadly commits our State to an ambitious goal of halving road deaths by 2030 and ultimately eliminating all road deaths by 2050. The first Road Safety Action plan in particular focuses on groups that are over-represented in deaths and serious injuries on our roads each year including motorcyclists, the elderly, pedestrians and those who work on the roads.
The Victorian Budget 2021/22 demonstrates its commitment to prioritising the safety of its road users by investing $358.8 million over four years to realise this plan, and includes the building of new safety infrastructure as well as launching new programs to increase public awareness and protect these vulnerable road users.
These programs include new AI-enabled high resolution camera systems targeting illegal mobile phone use and absence of seatbelts, an increase in mobile speed cameras, programs to replace older unsafe vehicles with safer replacements and extensive roll outs of life-saving infrastructure such as rope barriers and rumble strips throughout regional Victoria.
However, there is a limit to the effectiveness of these programmes without the cooperation of all Victorians. As the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Ben Carroll has said, “I won’t accept that someone not making it home to their family is an inevitable part of using our roads – it’s why we’re making the investments to reduce the heartbreak that too many Victorian families still experience…This Strategy sets out our next 10 years of work to make our roads, vehicles and journeys as safe as possible – but we cannot do this alone. We need all Victorians to make the right choices to keep them and other road users safe.”
If you or someone you know has been directly or indirectly involved in a traffic accident, call and speak to our TAC experts on (03) 9321 9988.