Every year for too many Victorian families the Christmas holiday period is tinged with sadness for loved ones lost to road trauma. Last year nine Victorians lost their lives over the Christmas period and in the past 11 months more than 260 have died on our roads.
Past trends indicate this number will increase sharply over the next few weeks. But many of the deaths would be avoided if drivers chose to heed warnings about drink-driving, speeding, driver fatigue and wearing seatbelts.
The injuries that afflict thousands of survivors can also devastate regional communities and, without adequate compensation, these people can struggle to get their lives back on track.
Many victims do not know that the amount of compensation available to them can be reduced significantly if a court determines their own negligence contributed to their injuries, and that includes knowingly getting into a car with a drunk driver.
Getting home safely during the festive season can be a challenge for those in regional areas but with a bit of forward planning — like designating a driver — everyone can look forward to a safe and prosperous 2013.
Katalin Blond, motor vehicle accident lawyer, Slater & Gordon, La Trobe Street, Melbourne