TWO hundred vehicles crashed into wire rope barriers on the Calder Freeway between Bendigo and Gisborne, last year.
That was more than half of the number of recorded hits on the barriers in the northern Victoria region.
The other 149 hits were on regional roads in the area stretching more than 280km from Gisborne to Swan Hill.
The Regional Roads Victoria data comes during in a week when the controversial wire rope barriers were among safety upgrades credited with driving down deaths on the road to record lows.
Victoria’s 2018 road toll was 214, compared with 259 in 2017.
Minister for roads Jaala Pulford said the biggest drops from last year were on country roads.
John Maher, a public speaker spreading road safety messages after the 1995 death of his daughter near Bendigo, said wire rope barriers did a “wonderful job”.
“The road toll reduced by 45 this year and there was basically no other variation in how people used the roads and the campaigns that were done,” he said.
Others are not convinced.
Janette White’s husband Phil was killed after coming off his motorbike following a collision with a kangaroo near Taradale in 2017.
“The truth is, wire rope barriers do not always save our lives. They can, and have, taken lives as well,” she said.
She said her husband’s chances of survival were hindered by wire rope barriers at the scene of the crash.
Ms White was skeptical of official statistics about wire rope barriers.
“Phil’s official cause of death has no reference to wire rope barriers being implicated, they have ruled he died from injuries received from a motorcycle incident,” she said.
“What hope have we got of there being any truth in the statistics?”
The Transport Accident Commission and Victoria Police directed inquiries about wire rope barrier statistics to VicRoads and RRV.
RRV was unable to provide a breakdown on the types of vehicles that crashed into barriers because in most cases people could drive away.
However, the barriers definitely saved lives, RRV acting chief regional roads officer Brian Westley said.
“Mistakes happen on our roads, but they shouldn't be deadly,” he said.
“Thanks to safety barriers, people are walking away from crashes that could have once caused serious injury or even death.”
The government will roll out an extra 500km of wire rope barriers in 2019 in an effort to tackle trauma on country roads, where head-on and run-off crashes were the leading causes of death.
The barriers work by stretching and absorbing the force of a crash, bringing a vehicle to a gradual stop.
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