Amidst all the challenges faced during 2020, there were some improvements in road safety for the year. Victoria recorded its equal lowest number of lives lost on the road in 2020 since records began, with 213 deaths. This figure was also the same as the 2018 road toll, a decrease from the 266 lives lost in 2019.
However, caution should be taken before applauding this decrease as a victory as COVID-19 brought with it a huge decrease in drivers on the road. The Age reported that in some months during the lockdown, driving had dropped more than 50 per cent. As such we should have been able to report a much larger decrease in the number of lives lost on the road compared to 2018.
It was reported that there was a spike in high-range speeding while the lockdown restrictions were in place. In addition, fatigue, lack of seatbelts, illegal phone use as well as drink and drug driving were major contributors to road trauma in 2020.
As a result, the Labour Government has recently introduced its new “Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030” which will aim to deliver solutions for those significant contributing factors to road trauma. There are plans to implement programs to prevent drink drivers from re-offending, to deploy high-tech cameras across Victoria targeting distracted drivers and to incentivise more Victorians who are driving older vehicles to switch to safer cars.
As the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Ben Carroll said, “any reduction in the road trauma is welcome – but even one life lost on Victorian roads is too many, let alone more than 200 families starting 2021 in grief. We all have to do more – and we’ve released an ambitious new Road Safety Strategy to make sure all Victorians are safe on our roads and reduce the risky behaviour that we know causes trauma.”
If you or a loved one has been injured on the road during the recent holiday period, call and speak to our TAC lawyers to see how we can help you on (03) 9321 9988.