Inquiry into road trauma
The surge in the number of lives lost on Victorian roads in 2019 has led the state government to open a parliamentary inquiry into the issue.
The government is currently taking submissions from members of the public in a call for assistance to help to find solutions to lower the level of road trauma going forward.
While 266 lives were lost last year - an increase of 24.9 per cent from 2018 - there have already been 13 lives lost on Victorian roads in 2020, an increase of 85.7 per cent from the same period in 2019.
The Stawell Times-Newspreviously reported that the road toll in the Wimmera region doubled from 2018 to 2019.
2019 saw 11 deaths on the road, compared with six the year before. However, there were 61 serious injuries compared to 76 in 2018.
The first fatality in the region for 2020 occurred at Dadswells Bridge just 12 days into the new year.
There were numerous deaths in the Ballarat region last year as well.
Most recently, on December 29, 37-year-old mother Jess West and her five year old son Deighton died after their family's RAV4 collided with a truck at Kingston. The driver of the truck, Michael Knowler, has been charged with several offences. The case is currently in court.
Further, an elderly man, riding a mobility scooter, last week died following a collision with a car in Ballarat on December 31. He was taken to hospital but died at home on January 6. The police investigation is ongoing.
The parliamentary inquiry, conducted by the Legislative Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee, will examine how the state's Towards Zero 2016-20 Road Safety Strategy is working to reduce fatalities.
Committee Chair Nazih Elasmar said there was no single solution to dealing with road trauma and so a wide range of issues and options would be considered, including the different circumstances and responses required in metropolitan and regional areas.
The issues being considered include the scope of drug and alcohol testing, current speed enforcement measures and speed management policies.
Exploring how to reduce distractions while driving, such as mobile phone use, through the adoption of new technology is another issue that will be explored, in addition to how to improve the affordability of new vehicles with driver assist technology as well as the adequacy of driver training programs.
Submissions close on January 31 and can be sent to: email@example.com
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