COUNTRY drivers continue to be killed on south-west roads as police renew calls to the community to ensure everyone makes it home safely.
Three people lost their lives in the south-west last month.
A 21-year-old Colac woman was killed in a single-vehicle accident at Jancourt East, a 19-year-old man in Port Fairy died when his vehicle ran off the Princes Highway and hit a tree on a sharp bend and a 46-year-old woman died at Brucknell after her sedan collided head-on with a van.
In the past 26 years more than 200 people have been killed on the roads in the Warrnambool police service area. More than 160 people died on roads in the Southern Grampians police service area over the same period.
Today marks two years since the launch of the Talk the Toll Down campaign across the state.
Warrnambool Highway Patrol officer Senior Sergeant Tania Barbary said any campaign to tackle road fatalities and serious injuries was worthwhile but no single initiative would solve all the problems. “There’s been three deaths in September. That’s three families that are completely devastated,” Senior Sergeant Barbary said.
“It’s pain that’s not only felt by those families but the wider community.
“It’s the sport clubs, the service clubs and the workplaces, not to mention the emergency service people who attended.
“The impact is so far-reaching.
“Looking at the majority of collisions that resulted in deaths for the last 12 months, eight occurred in 100km/h speed zones. This is happening on country roads.”
Senior Sergeant Barbary said to achieve a reduction in the toll the whole community needed to play a part.
“Historically the road toll has come down, but any death and any serious injury is just too many.
“To achieve a reduction we need the whole community, we can’t fix this on our own.
“I can’t do it on my own, my members can’t do it on their own.
“People need to pay attention on the road, don’t drink and drive or use drugs, think about fatigue.
“Driver distraction is a big one — it’s loud music, conversations in the car, mobile phones.
“People need strategies to not use their phone.
“The community needs to be aware of it and contribute to road safety to ensure everyone makes it home safe.
“I want my family to make it home safe and I want to as well.”
Samantha Cockfield, the Transport Accident Com-mission’s road safety senior manager, said public education programs could be very broad and often didn’t bring home the message on the ongoing nature of the effects of a loved one being serious injured.
She said the campaign showed road trauma could happen to someone close, not just other people.
The Standard launched the major campaign to cut the region’s road toll on October 8, 2011 in partnership with the Victorian government, the TAC and 59 other newspapers with the goal to save lives.
In the south-west region 11 people have died on the roads since October last year. In the previous 12 months 13 people were killed.