It could be easy for us to rest on our laurels when it comes to the tremendous success of road safety campaigns over the years.
Victoria has led the way with many of its ground-breaking work, being a leader – even on the world stage – with seat belt laws and then drink-driving regulations.
There is no doubt that these efforts have played an enormous role in saving lives and in preventing people suffering the life-long debilitation that comes with serious injuries.
Turn the clock back 50 years and the road toll in Victoria alone was around the 1000-mark – year-in, year-out.
Now it is around the 300-mark, though 2016 was especially grim with a 15 per cent rise over 2015.
The simple fact is that too many people are continuing to become victims, leaving so many families with a grief that will stay with them forever.
As Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission points out, 9000 people have been killed on the state’s roads since 1989 – and that is with a halving of the annual toll over that period.
It means we can never become complacent. This is the grim reality faced in every state in Australia and a constant reminder of the importance of holding fast to the need to find new ways, and to reinforce old methods, to make our roads even safer.
For regional areas such as where we live, that process is certainly continuing unabated.
That comes with calls from two leading safety advocates for major changes to how we tackle the issue.
Road Safety Camera Commissioner John Voyage has recommended an urgent approach to installing point-to-point camera systems on regional roads.
That has been followed by a similar call from Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer, who was reported as being in favour of lowering the speed limit on unsealed country roads from 100km/h to 70km/h.
It is noteworthy that Road Safe North East member Robert Allen has given his qualified support to these ideas, given that any firm backing quite rightly will always rely on the provision of more detailed information on just how the suggestions would work in reality. But as he noted, “anything that reduces speed, we would support. We know by reducing speed, we reduce the risk of crashing and the injury rate of crashes.”
And so going down these paths has got to be a positive move.