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South Gippslanders more likely to die in crashes on roads than in other shires

ON WATCH: Wonthaggi Police’s Senior Constable Tom Rynberk is helping keep motorists safe this summer.

CAR crashes in South Gippsland Shire have an almost one in 10 chance of causing a death.

VicRoads statistics reveal that from January 1, 2018 to June 1, 2019 – a period of 17 months – the South Gippsland Shire had a car-crash-to-death-ratio of 9.61 per cent, far higher than Bass Coast (2.21 per cent) and Wellington (2.53 per cent).

Worryingly, the situation seems to have worsened in recent times, with 23 crashes in the first five months of 2019 resulting in three fatalities.

In 2019, five people died on roads in South Gippsland Shire, three in Bass Coast Shire and two in Wellington Shire.

Putting those numbers in the clearest terms: a collision during that time produced an almost one-in-seven chance (or 13 per cent) of someone dying.

While the danger of driving in the South Gippsland Shire seems to be growing, death on country roads is nothing new. Last year the toll in regional Victoria jumped 33 per cent: 145 people lost their lives, and many more were injured.

It’s the reason road trauma researcher at Monash University, Dr Ben Beck, is calling for lower speeds on rural roads.

Dr Beck, who is also the president of the Australasian Injury Prevention Network, said that “people living outside of major cities have nearly twice the rate of serious road transport-related injury compared to those in major cities”.

“For crashes that occur in regional areas, we know that speed is one of the key contributing factors. We also know that the human body as a limited ability to tolerate crash forces,” he said.

“In a head-on collision, a crash above 70 km/h has a low probability of survival. Therefore, where we cannot implement roadside safety measures, such as safety barriers to prevent run-off-road or head-on collisions, we must push for 70 km/h speed limits.

“The quality of the road, the road shoulder and ensuring the presence of appropriate roadside safety infrastructure is also critically important.”

Deaths aside, there has also been scores of injuries on our local roads, with statistics showing that many crash victims were hospitalised in the 17 months from January 1, 2018: Wellington (112), Bass Coast (81) and South Gippsland (58).

“Thousands of Victorians are hospitalised following transport accidents every year. Tragically, in some cases, people involved in accidents suffer life-changing injuries such as an acquired brain injury or paraplegia, and require support for life,” the Transport Accident Commission’s (TAC) Michael Nieuwesteeg said.

“It is impossible to quantify the psychological and emotional costs of such injuries on TAC clients and their families, and these effects are often magnified in close-knit regional towns such as those in South Gippsland.

“We can’t accept that death or serious injury is the price for using our roads, which is why we are investing more in road safety than ever before.”

It’s an investment Time to Fix Our Roads member Stacey Jones, of South Gippsland, would welcome.

“The way I look at things, South Gippland’s roads are showing more pothole cracks and long grass that makes it hard to see what’s around the corner and roads that need to be cleaned of mould,” she said.

“Not to mention that a lot of trees at the sides of our roads need looking at. VicRoads and our council need to clean up before more deaths happen.”

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short URL: https://thestar.com.au/?p=30692

Posted by on Jan 14 2020. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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