Road accident fatalities in Victoria are at an all-time high. The statistics have increased 60.7% from this time last year. The TAC has recorded 143 deaths in 2019 so far – a stark comparison to 89 deaths reported in June 2018.
What is the reason for this shocking statistic? Authorities are turning to broader community issues that may have a role to play. Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane has highlighted that distraction on the roads has reached a pinnacle – Victorian drivers are suffering from a widespread “collective brain fade” as concentration levels have diminished. A key contributor to driver distraction is mobile phone use on the roads, a phenomenon so common it has been labelled the new generation drink-driving by Roads Minister Jaala Pulford.
As authorities grapple with the rising numbers, it is clear that reduced attention levels leading to motor vehicle accidents cannot be curbed by police intervention alone. This is an issue that requires significant shifts in community-wide understanding of just how much attention we need to be paying when driving on the roads. Such a shift in the community could be achieved through education programs tackling the dangers of mobile phone use while driving, and school-based learning about road safety for young people.
In response to the increased number of motor vehicle accident fatalities, authorities held an emergency Road Safety Summit, bringing together experts, researchers and leaders coming together across Victoria, including from the TAC, VicRoads, RACV, Victoria Police, Road Trauma Support Services and Monash University Accident Research Centre, and motorbike and bicycle advocates. The summit highlighted speed as a major contributor to the increased number of road accident fatalities. The summit also discussed implementation of new generation safety cameras targeting distracted driving, mobile speed cameras and wire rope safety barriers in a bid to reduce the rising number of road accidents.
Community discussions are also being held across regional Victoria, a response to the overrepresentation of motor vehicle accident fatalities in regional Victoria, where there has been 72 deaths in regional areas in comparison to 41 in the Melbourne metropolitan area as of May 2019. In the Ballarat region alone, 14 deaths have been recorded. Poorly maintained regional roads and excessive speeding were also highlighted as key contributors to motor vehicle accidents in the emergency Road Safety Summit.
The TAC is committed to reducing the number of road accident fatalities to zero with its Towards Zero road safety campaign. The commitment also requires a community effort towards paying greater attention on the roads, and eliminating driver distractions and mobile phone use. As responsible users and sharers of Victorian roads, together we must make a collaborative effort to ensure they remain safe for all. It is each Victorian’s responsibility to help guarantee that the number of motor vehicle accidents does not continue to rise in years to come.
Have you been injured in a road accident?
If you have suffered injury from a road accident, you are entitled to make a motor vehicle accident claim with the TAC. We recommend you seek independent legal advice about your rights and entitlements. At Gordon Legal, our motor vehicle accident lawyers can help you navigate your rights and any compensation you may be able to claim.
Car accidents can have lifelong consequences. Our expert motor vehicle accident lawyers understand the human toll road accidents have, not only on those involved but the ripple effects on their families and the wider community. For us every case is personal and you come first. Contact Gordon Legal today to speak to one of our friendly and experienced motor vehicle accident lawyers.