Road toll drop welcomed by leaders

But 17 dead on our roads 'too many'

NEWS: Concern at number of elderly drivers killed

CENTRAL Victorians should be heartened by a drop in country road deaths of 6.6 per cent in 2013, which contributed to Victoria's lowest road toll since 1924.

But 17 people killed on the region's roads last year was still too many, said Bendigo acting Inspector Paul Gardiner.

"That's still 17 lives lost, 17 mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who will no longer have members of their family with them."

In 2013, 242 lives were lost on Victorian roads, compared to 282 in 2012 – a reduction of 40.

While the official 2013 road toll will be finalised on February 1, the provisional results highlight a rise in the number of elderly road users killed and a 19.2 per cent reduction in the number of males killed on the state’s roads compared with 2012.

Country road deaths decreased by 6.6 per cent to 142 and metropolitan road deaths decreased by 23.1 per cent to 100.

Acting Inspector Gardiner said the fall in country deaths was small compared with the 23.1 per cent drop in metropolitan deaths. 

And he said the popular myth that it was mainly city drivers who died on country roads was incorrect.

"The sad thing is it is country people who are dying on country roads by a large majority," he said.

On the positive side, acting Inspector Gardiner said he had noticed improvements in behavior such as more drivers pulling over to the side of the road to talk on mobiles.

Acting Premier Peter Ryan said the drop in Victoria’s road toll has been record-breaking in many ways but there was still more work to be done.

“Victoria has just recorded its lowest road toll in almost 90 years. We haven’t seen a road toll this low since 1924, when 224 people were killed on the roads,” acting Premier Ryan said. 

“This shows just how far we have come in saving lives, but we will not rest until the road toll is zero."

Minister Terry Mulder said the road safety partners have created new road safety campaigns and public education programs targeting road safety issues.

“We need to continue to work together to come up with new initiatives and strategies to help us achieve our vision of zero deaths and serious injuries.”

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