Year-on-year increase in traffic fatalities as the government urges Victorians to consider public transport

Victoria saw an increase of more than 10 percent in the number of road fatalities in 2021 compared to 2020, as the government urges Victorians to return to public transport.

Victoria recorded 236 road deaths in 2021, with accidents on capital roads being mentioned as a significant contributor to the increase.

Incidents on capital roads led to 117 deaths compared to 84 in 2020.

While the total number of deaths was the third lowest in the record, Minister of Road Safety and Public Transport Ben Carroll said the figure was disappointing given reduced road use during the pandemic.

“This is despite the fact that our streets are quieter when they come out of lockdown and COVID,” he said.

“This comes down to behavioral choices we all make.”

In contrast, the regional Victoria experienced fewer road accidents and recorded the second lowest number of lives lost ever with 119 deaths compared to 126 in 2020.

The government’s proposed Victorian road safety strategy 2021-2030 aims to halve deaths by 2030 and put the state on track to eliminate all road fatalities by 2050.

A man in a suit in front of a blue backdrop
Minister Ben Carroll said 36 Victorians who died in road accidents were not wearing seat belts.(ABC News)

Speed ​​is still a “significant contributor” to fatalities

Assistant Commissioner for Road Police Glenn Weir said police had identified an “inadequate” amount of Victorians driving too fast on the road.

“Vehicle speed is still a significant contributor, and 20 percent of all fatal collisions are the causal link down to speed,” said Assistant Commissioner Weir.

Victoria Police also identified an increase in the incidence of drink-driving in the period before Christmas.

“We are really worried about the alcohol numbers during the pre-Christmas operation,” he said.

A police officer in front of a blue background
Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir said there will be a significant police presence on the roads in the coming weeks.(ABC News)

Deaths for motorcyclists rose to 41 from 32 in 2020 before MotoCAP safety assessments were introduced for motorcycle equipment.

A motorcycle accident in Craigieburn early New Year’s Day contributed to the first Victorian road death in 2022.

Minister downplays COVID fears for public transport

Carroll said it would be a priority to get Victorians back on public transportation by 2022.

Figures from the Ministry of Transport show a sharp decline in the use of public transport during the pandemic due to shutdowns and concerns over COVID-19 transmission.

But Mr Carroll said Victoria’s public transport system was cleaner than ever and safe to use.

Carroll said public transportation had undergone a “renaissance of investment” with an increase in the number of services and a number of price investments being considered.

But Shadow Transport Minister Steph Ryan has criticized the government for a planned tariff increase, which will see the price of a ticket on metropolitan services rise by 2.3 percent on average and regional tariffs rise by an average of 1.1 percent.

Public transportation prices were frozen during the pandemic, and Ms. Ryan said the new rise comes at the wrong time for Victorians.

“We should encourage Victorians to find more reasons to choose public transport, not less,” Ryan said.

“Higher prices put more pressure on people who are still struggling to make ends meet, on sick regional Victorians traveling to Melbourne for medical visits and are less incentive for office workers to return to the CBD.”

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