THE Victorian Government’s Ministerial Road Safety Council is leading an all-agencies effort to reduce serious injuries with an Australian-first road safety initiative.
Announced at a two-day ‘Towards Zero Road Safety Leadership Symposium, supported by Victoria’s road safety partners; TAC, VicRoads, Victoria Police and Department of Justice, the new campaign has taken aim at the statistic that 5500 people are being injured on Victoria’s roads each year.
Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips said the Coalition Government had set a target of reducing deaths and serious injuries by 30 per cent by 2022 when launching its Road Safety Strategy a year ago.
“While fatalities have reduced significantly in Victoria with the lowest road toll in 90 years, serious injuries are not slowing at the same rate. As a community, we need to work together to make a significant difference and in Victoria, we already have the know-how and the technology to markedly reduce road trauma,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.
“The Towards Zero Symposium brings together international and local knowledge to show Victoria’s leaders that we have the tools available to reduce road trauma and how best they can put them into practice.”
South Gippsland Shire was represented by John Ernst, Chair of the South Gippsland Road Safety Committee, and the shire’s L2P Program Coordinator.
The symposium included the release of a new interactive online statistics ‘Dashboard’ which helps the community track the progress of Victoria’s road safety goals and provides a closer look at how each sector of the Safe System – vehicles, roads, speeds and road users – are impacting on Victoria’s most serious crashes.
“It also shows the community why the Victorian Government is placing a greater emphasis on serious injuries, with our aim to reduce them by 30 per cent by 2022,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.
Minister for Roads Terry Mulder said Victoria was known as a state at the forefront of road safety and today’s symposium would help transform the Towards Zero vision into reality.
“When the Victorian Government released the Road Safety Strategy last year, we promised aggressive and effective new measures to punish those who disregard or flout the law,” Mr Mulder said.
“That’s why new laws were announced, which will create a specific offence for driving or riding under the combined influence of drugs and alcohol – Victoria is one of the few jurisdictions in the world to do this.
“For drivers who think they can drink and drive, we are also introducing impoundment or immobilisation of their vehicles if they are over 0.1.
“It’s easy to speak about a vision of zero but the Coalition Government is taking action and has decided to introduce this tough legislation – it’s a decision that will hold drivers and riders responsible,” Mr Mulder said.
“Further, Victorian motorcycle riders will have a safer start on the roads, with the introduction of the new Graduated Licensing System from later this year.”
Mr Mulder said this important new program, to be rolled out in two stages, includes improved training, education and testing, as well as some restrictions to ensure newly licensed motorcyclists are better prepared and less likely to be injured in crashes.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells, who opened the second day of the symposium, said many significant actions from the Road Safety Action Plan had been delivered over the past year including a $1 billion commitment over ten years to improve infrastructure along hundreds of high risk roads and intersections.
“We’ve also developed an integrated approach to stop distracted driving through tougher new penalties, a public education campaign and the innovative Road Mode app,” Mr Wells said.
“The Coalition Government has continued to support younger drivers through the new parental guidance campaign and the Graduated Licensing System, which has showed incredibly promising results with a 31 per cent reduced crash risk among first year drivers.
“A speed limit review was also completed in the past year in consultation with the Victorian community and the Coalition Government has ensured road safety remains a priority for Victorians with the new number plate slogan Stay Alert, Stay Alive,” Mr Wells said.