Drivers call for major change on Aussie roads: 'We need this'

Many road users are asking what happened to a life-saving trial after 2023 emerged as Australia's deadliest year on the roads in more than half a decade.

The photoluminescence road lines shining bright during a trial on Metong Road in Victoria.
Road lines using photoluminescence to emit light during a trial on a 1km section of Metong Road in Victoria's southeast. Source: Facebook / Tarmac Linemarking

Accidents on our roads are soaring across Australia, with almost every jurisdiction throughout the country having recorded increases in preventable deaths in the last year. In fact, 2023 was the deadliest year on Australian roads in more than half a decade, according to recent data.

The worrying trend has seen authorities scramble over how best to manage the worsening crisis, with states and territories unveiling a range of new strategies in response. One tactic trialled in 2022 in Victoria that caught the attention of motorists was glow-in-the-dark road lines in low-light settings.

The road lines are seen using photoluminescence to emit light that has been absorbed during the day. As part of the trial, the line markings were added to a 1km section of Metong Road in the state's south-east.
The reflective paint stays brighter for longer and is more durable. Source: Facebook / Tarmac Linemarking

The idea has resurfaced on forums around the country with drivers wondering the outcome of the Victorian experiment. At the time, the Victorian government said it hoped the trial would provide drivers with a stronger visual signal to follow in low light.

"This treatment will make it easier for drivers to see the line markings or signage and provide stronger definition coming up to intersections and curves, giving drivers more time to react and preventing them from veering from their lane," Regional Victoria Roads said at the time.

The high reflectivity paint used apparently stays brighter for longer and is more durable than regular line paint. The road lines use photoluminescence to emit light that has been absorbed during the day. One of five rural roads to trial the line markings included a 1km section of Metong Road in the state's southeast.

Online, people are wondering what happened to the 2022 trial with some from other states keen on seeing the glow-in-the-dark line markings introduced in their region.

"We need these on the Wakehurst Parkway, Pacific Highway, Pittwater Road, Warringah Road and Mona Vale Road," a woman in Sydney wrote. People responding praised the "absolutely brilliant idea" with even some based in the US saying "we need this in America".

Others wondered why they hadn't heard anything about the trial since its inception in 2022.

Yahoo News Australia questioned VicRoads, the authority responsible for the scheme, over what had happened to the idea. In response, a spokesperson said it's been discontinued, citing insufficient road safety benefits to justify further rolling out the markings.

The spokesperson confirmed the Department of Transport and Planning trialled the use of photoluminescent line-markings on five rural roads. But an independent evaluation conducted once the trial concluded, determined there were insufficient road safety benefits to justify adding more of the fluro lines to the state's roads, effectively axing any hope of the $4 million scheme being rolled out further.

Australia’s road network has recorded its deadliest six months in more than 13 years and a peak body is calling on the data needed to make sense of the growing death toll to be released by state governments.

The Australian Automobile Association’s newest benchmarking the National Road Safety Strategy report reveals a 7.3 per cent increase in deaths on Australian roads from 2022 to 2023, with 1266 people losing their lives on our roads last year. The second half of 2023 proved the deadliest consecutive quarters on Australian roads since the first six months of 2010, as 677 road deaths were recorded.

The significant increase in the national road toll in 2023 was driven by a climbing death toll in three Australian states. NSW recorded a nearly 30 per cent increase from 2022, with 351 individuals losing their lives last year, Victoria’s road toll increased by 22.5 per cent, with 294 deaths in 2023 and South Australia’s road toll reached 117, a nearly 65 per cent increase from 2022.

So far in 2024, 139 people have died on Victorian roads.

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