Almost 60 per cent of drivers who died behind the wheel in Victoria last year were on country roads at the time of their death, end-of-year crash statistics have revealed.
Of the 255 people killed on the state’s roads in 2017, 151 were in regional areas when tragedy struck.
Eighteen of those deaths occurred in the region patrolled by Bendigo police.
Among those who made up the death toll was a 24-year-old Pyramid Hill man found deceased in his crashed car beside Mitiamo-Kerang Road on the weekend.
While details of the crash were still unclear, police believe the vehicle was travelling north some time before 5pm on Saturday when the man lost control and veered off the road.
Across country Victoria, most fatal crashes occurred on stretches of road with a speed limit of 100 or more kilometres per hour and Bendigo Sergeant Ian Brooks said the same was true for road deaths in his district.
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Distraction and alcohol were the other significant factors that contributed to fatalities on the road, he said. Already in 2018, Bendigo police have caught two drivers with a blood-alcohol concentration above the legal limit.
“Driving a tonne-and-a-half of hurtling steel is not a part-time occupation; it’s full-time concentration we’re after,” Sergeant Brooks said, calling on the community to take responsibility for their safety and that of other road users.
“We’re losing people on our roads who don’t need to die.
“Every one (of the fatal incidents) was avoidable or preventable if the people involved in collisions had been more aware of what they were doing.”
Men remained overwhelmingly more likely to be the victim of a fatal crash, with just 67 the people killed in 2017 women.
The number of cyclists to die on the roads rose four to 12, a number that included Strathfieldsaye man Jason Lowndes who was struck by a car in Mandurang just days before Christmas.
The number of motorcyclist deaths decreased in 2017.
Sergeant Brooks re-iterated his comments from last month when he asked his community to aim for six months without a road fatality.
Both 2016 and 2017 contained three month stretches during which time no road deaths were recorded.
“It’s more than just a police responsibility, it’s everyone’s responsibility.”
Anyone with information about Saturday’s Pyramid Hill crash should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000