Road toll hits record low


Road toll hits record low

SOUTH Gippsland has just experienced its lowest road toll on record for a five year period.
But that is not good enough.
RoadSafe South Gippsland wants no-one to die on the region’s roads.
Thirty-one people were killed on roads in South Gippsland and Bass Coast shires between 2006 and 2010.
RoadSafe South Gippsland executive officer John Ernst said: “We have a lot more vehicles on the road and we are doing more kilometres then we did before, but have the lowest road toll.
“But we’re never happy. We would like to see a road toll of zero.
“We still have the persistent speeders and persistent drink drivers, but we have programs in place to address that.”
Across Gippsland, run-off road crashes topped the list of causes, followed by side impact at intersection crashes, rear-end collisions, head-ons and pedestrian accidents.
“It comes down to people driving to the conditions,” Mr Ernst said.
While potholes have become more common on regional roads this year, he was unaware of vehicles running off the road after collisions.
Four people were killed in South Gippsland Shire in 2010, six in 2009, one in 2008, none in 2007 and eight in 2006.
In Bass Coast Shire, two people were killed in 2010, three in 2009, two in 2008, three in 2007 and two in 2006.
During 2006-2010, men in South Gippsland Shire were involved in 145 serious injury accidents and 140 other injury incidents.
Women appear to be more cautious drivers, involved in 94 serious injury accidents and 162 other injury accidents.
Young drivers were involved in a higher number of crashes, with women accounting for three fatalities, 32 serious injury accidents and 56 injury accidents.  While just one young man was killed, young men were associated with 43 serious injury accidents and 53 other injury accidents.
Older drivers appear to benefit from additional experience, featuring in less incidents. Men were linked to three fatal accidents, 12 serious injury accidents and nine other injury accidents.
Older women were involved in just two fatal accidents, 15 serious injury accidents and 13 other injury accidents.
Young drivers comprise only 14 per cent of the population, but are involved in up to 35 per cent of fatalities.
Now that learner drivers are expected to accrue 120 hours of driving experience before applying for their licence, authorities are hoping young fatalities will decrease.
“If you have got 120 hours of experience, there is a third less chance of having a crash,” Mr Ernst said.
“Some kids were only having 10-20 hours of driving practice before they got their licence. They only needed to hit a wet patch at night or follow too closely and have an accident.”
Probationary drivers are also now forbidden from carrying more than one passenger aged 16-25 (unless they are siblings).
“What we are trying to get away from is having four to five kids in the car, which is a natural distraction for these kids,” Mr Ernst said.
The Nyora-Poowong Road is a dangerous road for motorcycle accidents, due to many bends and its promotion among motorcycling circles as a tourist route.
Young motorcyclists tend to take more risks while older riders who have returned to riding can choose motorcycles that are too powerful for their lack of experience.
The Bunurong Coastal Drive between Inverloch and Cape Paterson is another high risk zone for motorcyclists and cyclists alike.
“It’s a real issue to get drivers to share the road. We are never going to be able to put a bicycle path there because of the environmental issues,” Mr Ernst said.
Safer cars are playing a major role in reducing the number and severity of injuries, Mr Ernst said.
Features such as anti-lock braking systems and electronic stability control help a car to stay on the road, while side airbags in conjunction with driver and passenger airbags help protect occupants in the event of an accident.
“We could cut the road toll by about a third if everyone was driving a five-star car,” Mr Ernst said.
“A big difference has also been made on the Strzelecki Highway by putting in wire rope and sealing the shoulders, and there has been a big difference on the South Gippsland Highway with upgrades,” he said.
Truck accidents have been a major issue in South Gippsland, prompting VicRoads to hold an information session for the industry in Leongatha on May 31, as part of a broader program. Similar action in East Gippsland Shire reduced the incidence of truck roll-overs by 75 per cent.
“Accidents might be just due to the conditions of the weather or the road, but  for trucks with half a load, the weight transfer is just enough to tip the truck (when cornering),” Mr Ernst said.
• Anyone with road safety concerns can contact Mr Ernst at South Gippsland Shire Council on 5662 9200.

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Posted by on May 24 2011. Filed under Community. 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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