Latest Transport Accident Commission (TAC) data shows 141 people were seriously injured on south-west roads last year — a fall of 15 on 2010.
As the state government announced a new 10-year strategy to reduce trauma on Victorian roads, the TAC figures revealed there were 45 claims for acute hospital admissions after accidents in the Southern Grampians region and 96 in the Warrnambool region, compared with 43 claims in 2010 in the Southern Grampians and 113 for Warrnambool — representing an 11 per cent overall decrease.
But the south-west suffered 10 road fatalities, the same result for the previous financial year.
Six of those fatalities were in the Southern Grampians zone and four in the Warrnambool area in the period from July 2011 to June 2012. Throughout Victoria there have been 102 fatalities on regional and rural roads so far this year, seven down on the same time last year and two less than the five-year average.
TAC chief executive Janet Dore said while the reduction in regional fatalities was pleasing, Victoria’s country roads would become busier in coming months and motorists should take extra care.
“We’re just a few weeks away from school holidays which means more families are on the roads and in some instances driving longer distances than they normally would,” she said.
“Now more than ever we need all Victorians — particularly those in regional and rural areas — to be vigilant on the roads.”
Yesterday, Premier Ted Baillieu announced the appointment of a council to be chaired by Deputy Premier Peter Ryan, Attorney-General Robert Clark, Minister for Roads Terry Mulder and Assistant Treasurer and Minister Responsible for the TAC Gordon Rich-Phillips.
“The council has been tasked with developing the government’s 10-year strategy to ensure Victoria remains at the forefront of road safety,” Mr Baillieu said.
“The council will build on the work we’ve already undertaken as part of the Talk the Toll Down campaign which has engaged regional newspapers to encourage more Victorians to think about road safety.
“In addition to improving the planning and co-ordination of road safety activities to keep driving the road toll down, the council will seek the input of Victorians into the new road safety strategy.”
The state government launched a directions paper called ‘Victoria’s Road Safety Strategy: Have Your Say’ and has invited Victorians to contribute to the development of the government’s new 10-year road safety strategy.
Mr Mulder said the council would improve the planning and co-ordination of road safety activities to keep driving the road toll down and ensure Victoria remained at the forefront of road safety improvements.
“Everyone has a role to play in improving road safety and by considering your views, we can ensure that community attitudes to road safety are at the heart of our strategy and action plans,” he said.
The 10-year Road Safety Strategy will be released in early 2013.