Victoria's road toll for 2010 has reached 200, up from 182 for the same period last year. The latest victim of the toll, a 19 year-old-man, was killed when the car he was driving collided with a fallen tree in Gembrook this morning, following heavy storms across the state overnight.
Deputy Commissioner for Road Policing, Ken Lay said today that the tally could reach 350 by year's end. Before 2010, the state's annual road toll had been in steady decline, falling from 346 in 2005 to 290 last year.
"It will take a miracle for us to bring this year's road toll under control. If we keep tracking this way we could end up with as many as 350 dead," Mr Lay said.
"To put it simply these deaths should not be happening, people getting behind the wheel when they have been drinking, taking drugs, driving at speed, not wearing a seatbelt. Time and again police are attending these fatalities and the reality is these deaths could have been avoided."
Mr Lay said that older drivers, motorcyclists and country motorists are all over-represented in the state's road toll figures.
Victoria Police statistics show that there have been 14 more motorcycle-related road deaths this year, making up 14 percent of this year's toll. Similarly, drivers over 60 years old currently make up 30 percent of driver fatalities and 25 percent of all fatalities.
"Our population is aging, and police are already working on strategies to address the impact of this on road safety," Mr Lay said. "People must be aware of their own abilities and health. Older drivers must undertake regular vision testing and have recurring conversations with their doctor about their ability to drive."
"It is also important that motorcycle riders take note that in 47 per cent of motorcycle fatalities this year - speed was a contributing factor."
Road toll statistics for 2010 also reveal a significant increase in fatalities in country areas, with 21 more deaths in regional Victoria in 2010 compared with the same period last year.
Dates the road toll hit 200 over the past five years
- 2009 - 14/09/2009 - year total 290
- 2008 - 22/08/2008 - year total 303
- 2007 - 25/08/2007 - year total 332
- 2006 - 25/08/2006 - year total 337
- 2005 - 20/07/2005 - year total 346