VICTORIA?S GOVERNMENT has come under fire from the state opposition for ignoring the deteriorating condition of regional roads as a major contributor to the rising road toll.
Recent figures show that although the road toll is dropping throughout the state?s cities and towns, the rural road toll is on the rise, corresponding with condition reports which show road conditions declining.
Deputy Leader of the National Party, Peter Walsh, presented figures from both the Transport Accident Commision (TAC) as well as reports from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
"Figures released by the Transport Accident Commission show the road toll for rural roads to midnight 16 July 2009 has increased 14 per cent compared to this time last year," Mr Walsh said to Drive.
Comparing those statistics to the conditions of the state?s rural roads, Mr Walsh added:
"In regional Victoria the length of distressed road increased by 177.9 per cent in the four years leading up to 2006/07, which is completely unacceptable."
?Roads are classified as distressed when they have degraded to the point where the road pavement is rough, cracked or rutted," he said.
Victoria?s peak motoring group, the RACV, also drew a direct link between reducing the road toll and improving the state's roads.
Road deaths in and around Melbourne and Victoria?s regional centres are down for the same period. The TAC indicates that road deaths in Melbourne decreased by seven percent, while in the country the road toll is up from 84 to 96 for the same period, a 14 percent increase.
?This inconsistency shows that Labor should be doing more to improve the state of Victorian country roads to save country lives," Mr Walsh said.