The Andrews government in Victoria has announced its 2017 plan to make the state’s roads safer in an effort to curb the ever-increasing annual road toll.
In a statement released this week, the 2017 plan declares that this year will be Victoria’s “year of action” against road fatalities, after 2016 showed an increase in the annual road toll for the third consecutive year.
Last year, 291 people died on Victoria’s roads, 39 more than 2015.
In an effort to reduce the road toll, the Labor government will rollout its $12 billion ‘Towards Zero Action Plan’, which includes several new initiatives designed to increase safety on high-risk areas of the Victorian road network.
Flexible roadside barriers (top) and other preventative infrastructure will be installed along 330km of high volume, 100km/h roads across the state, designed to reduce run-off-road and head-on collisions by up to 85 per cent.
These barriers have already been installed on the Melba Highway and the government says they have already saved lives.
According to the government, country Victorians are four times more likely to be killed and 40 per cent more likely to be injured on regional roads.
The first roadways to receive these barriers include the Goulburn Valley Highway, Princes Highway (East and West), Hume Freeway (M80 and NER), and the Calder Freeway.
In addition to the road upgrades, the government and Transport Accident Commission (TAC) are working on a number of campaigns to deter drug driving, which was a major factor in 2016’s rise in road deaths.
Motorcyclist deaths were up 90 per cent compared to 2015, and were the largest contributor to the road toll rise last year. Speed, illicit drug use, lack of protective gear and unlicensed riding were identified as the main causes of rider deaths in 2016.
Minister for roads and road safety, Luke Donnellan, said: “There will never be an acceptable number of deaths on our roads and 2016 was a tragic year. That’s why we are always looking at ways to help Victorians consider their choices so they can be there for their loved ones”.
“Country Victorians will start to see more flexible road side barriers as we continue to make rural roads safer where nearly half Victorian road fatalities happen.”
“If every Victorian plays their part by making the right choices, together we can make 2017 a turning point in our move towards a safer future,” he added.