In the last six months in Victoria 128 people have lost their lives on the roads with the vast majority coming from rural areas.
In the lead up to the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, with thousands expected to descend on the north-east for major events including the Winery Walkabout, Yarrawonga Police have joined with the TAC in reminding all motorists that road safety is a shared responsibility.
The TAC statistics are quite sobering.
Of the 128 recorded deaths, 48 were in Melbourne but 79 were in rural Victoria; 1 death was recorded as ‘unknown’.
The types of crashes also make for sombre reading with 40 fatalities occurring by running off a straight road and 22 by running off on a curve.
A further 20 deaths occurred by crashing into an oncoming vehicle, 17 were caused by vehicles travelling in an adjacent direction and 11 were travelling in the same direction.
The cause of three deaths was listed as manoeuvring, two were ‘on road’, two were ‘passenger/misc’ and one was through
‘overtaking’; seven pedestrians were also listed as fatalities and three were ‘unknown’ fatalities.
Victoria Police, in conjunction with the TAC, VicRoads and the Department of Justice, believe road trauma should not be accepted as inevitable.
To achieve this, these road safety partners have adopted a Safe System philosophy to road safety.
This is a holistic method which aims to minimise the risk of death or serious injury on the roads by taking into account the interaction between roads, vehicles, speeds and road users.
‘Safety is a shared responsibility’ is one of the key principles of the system and Victoria Police has acknowledged the community needed to be engaged for this to be possible.
Leading Senior Constable Janis McMillan from Yarrawonga Police spoke with the Chronicle about local road safety concerns in the lead up to the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
“This coming weekend will be very busy with the Winery Walkabout as well as the opening of the snow season,” Leading Snr Cst McMillan said.
“Police are urging everyone to take particular care, drive to the road and weather conditions and be patient.
“If the weather is inclement and your car has an auto light setting, this is a timely reminder that your headlights will not come on in daylight fog, you must remember to manually turn them on.”
Fog lights are a bug-bear with Leading Snr Cst McMillan.
“Drivers should only use fog lights in inclement weather, not just as a matter of course, as the added light affects an oncoming driver’s visibility, almost the same as if your lights were on high beam,” she said.
“If you will be driving around Yarrawonga this holiday weekend, add a little bit of time to your journey and be patient.
“Don’t rush through an intersection or roundabout if you are unsure whether you can proceed all the way through.
“The roundabout at the intersection of Belmore and Orr Streets is a good example of this as it seems to get blocked on a regular basis by motorists entering the roundabout even though the vehicle ahead of them hasn’t moved on.
“What if an emergency vehicle needed to access the side street or travel straight through, it wouldn’t be able to.”
Another intersection of concern is the Belmore and Witt Street intersection.
“Motorists should approach this intersection like a roundabout in the way that you can’t cut corners on a roundabout, you must go out and around,” Leading Snr Cst McMillan said.
“I have witnessed motorists time and again cutting across this corner which effectively slows traffic and prevents oncoming traffic moving through safely.
“Lastly using mobile phones while driving is sadly always an issue and Yarrawonga Police have handed out several fines for this offence in the last few weeks.
“If you do get caught using your mobile phone while behind the wheel of a car you will get a $466 fine as well as four demerit points, which is a substantial deterrent and yet people still do it.”