FATALITIES on Greater Bendigo's roads barely shifted downwards in 2021 despite a notable drop south of the city.
The municipality recorded five road deaths last year, down by one on 2020's figures and two since a horror 2019, when a spike in statewide fatalities caused consternation and a parliamentary review of road strategies.
Castlemaine's Mount Alexander Shire recorded the biggest drop in numbers of any municipality in the Loddon Mallee region.
It recorded two deaths in 2021, down from seven the year before, according to data supplied by the Victorian government.
The shire has now returned to the sort of numbers seen before 2020.
Overall, the Loddon Mallee region has seen six less deaths on the roads in 2021, and 15 less than in 2019.
Regional Victoria has recorded its second lowest number of road deaths, which the government says is at least partly because of flexible barriers between lanes that have reduced head-on collisions.
The low regional numbers came even as the statewide number climbed by 11 per cent.
That rise came even though COVID-19 reduced the number of cars on the road in Melbourne
The rise has captured the attention of police, who say speeding continues to be a leading contributor to fatalities.
Police have been "alarmed" by the number of people not wearing seatbelts. Thirty of those who died in 2021 were not strapped in.
Assistant road policing commissioner Glenn Weir said the 236 lives lost across Victoria was not "just a number".
"These are people whose lives have tragically been cut short with families, friends and loved ones left behind - their lives forever changed," he said.
"The real loss of these 236 lives is immeasurable."
Victoria Police and other road safety authorities want to halve fatalities by 2030.
"As we enter a new year, we cannot stress enough that the onus of road safety is on all of us," Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir said.
"Everyone has the ability to make good choices to keep themselves, their passengers and other road users safe.
"We will continue our enforcement efforts to deter and target unlawful road user behaviour, with a focus on intentional high-risk driving, speeding, impaired driving, wearing of seatbelts, distraction and authorised driving."
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