- Using The Standard's news archives and checked with TAC data, we have plotted every south-west road collision resulting in a fatality since January 2010. Some locations are approximate when specific details were not provided at the time of reporting.
- If you find an error, please use the comments section to let us know and we will endeavour to make corrections where possible.
AFTER 13 fatalities in the past seven months, the south-west is on track for its worst road toll since 2006.
The crash that killed a woman and critically injured four others on the Great Ocean Road near Princetown on Thursday took the 2014 figure past recent years - 12 people were killed last year in south-west road accidents and nine died in 2012.
Data provided by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) has revealed a 350 per cent increase in road deaths in the Warrnambool, Corangamite and Moyne Shire area during the 12 months leading up to June this year, making it one of the worst regions in the state.
The increased figure was revealed earlier this week in the TAC's Road Safety Statistical Summary. By comparison, Southern Grampians showed a 100 per cent reduction and Bendigo was down 67 per cent. Melbourne had the same number of fatalities as the previous 12 months, while Ballarat was up 50 per cent.
At the current rate, the south-west in on track for 22 deaths by the year's end. The annual road toll in the combined Warrnambool, Corangamite, Glenelg, Moyne, Southern Grampians and Colac-Otway municipalities has only exceeded 20 on five occasions since 1990.
"Whether it be weather conditions or fatigue, they're not necessarily due to bad driver behaviour."
In 2006 there were 26 fatalities, the most for the region since 1991.
Sergeant Chris Brown from Warrnambool's highway patrol said that in recent incidents people had died due to tragic circumstances rather than illegal driver behaviour, such as drink driving or speeding.
"Obviously all our fatalities have been in tragic circumstances, but certainly over the past month," he told The Standard.
"Our past five to six weeks have certainly been quite traumatic on the roads. We've lost a number of people in a short period of time.
"Whether it be weather conditions or fatigue, they're not necessarily due to bad driver behaviour.
"We implore drivers to be vigilant on the roads, be aware of conditions and their own capabilities.
"It's also important to be wary of other drivers on the road who may not be as familiar with the surroundings.
"At this time of year you really need to make sure your vehicles are in a roadworthy condition, whether it's the tyres or breaks.
"It's also darker for longer and there's wind and rain, so it's vital to drive to the conditions."
Sergeant Brown said Operation Safe South-West was a pro-active strategy run by police in the region to reduce trauma on south-west roads.
"Over the past two months we consistently have conducted operations through Warrnambool, Hamilton and Portland highway patrol units."
TAC CEO Janet Dore said while last year Victoria recorded its lowest road toll in almost 90 years, drivers could not become complacent about road safety.
"Any death or serious injury on Victorian roads is devastating, particularly when it happens on local roads and involves people from local communities," she said.
"We need every member of the community to take responsibility for the way they use the roads as we move towards our vision of a state where every journey is a safe journey.
"It’s about making sure you’re driving the safest possible vehicle at safe speeds and that you’re always concentrating on the task of driving and, most importantly, not impaired by fatigue, alcohol or other drugs."