‘Unacceptable’ road toll sparks Christmas plea

Car Into Hotel
People leave flowers at the Royal Daylesford Hotel where five people died after a car crashed into the beer garden of the Vincent Street venue. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Brendan Beckett.

In the wake of what has been one of the worst recorded road death tolls for Victoria in recent memory, authorities are set to launch safe driving messaging across the state this summer.

There have been 271 lives lost on Victorian roads from the start of the year to November 30, an increase of 45 from this time last year.

The state has been struck with the heartbreak of several major collision incidents, including a five-person fatal crash involving two cars and a truck in Strathmerton in April.

Three teens and one woman were found dead in a wreckage near Bochara in May, with police confirming speed contributed to the collision.

Bochara Fatal
Police are still at the Bochara fatal crash scene where four people were killed in a car accident. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Crosling.
Five people died and multiple people were injured after car ploughed into the beer garden at the The Royal Daylesford Hotel. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josie Hayden.

Most recently, five people were killed after a car left the road and smashed through a Daylesford pub’s beer garden in November.

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner for road policing Glenn Weir said the amount of lives lost this year was “unacceptable” and wished drivers would take more responsibility over their driving.

“It’s just completely unacceptable. We’ve got to do better. The road safety partners and government are all trying really hard but we need to take people on the journey with us,” he said.

“And make sure that people take responsibility, and don’t do stupid things like combining alcohol and driving.”

Police Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir spoke to media regarding the high road death toll in Victoria this year. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie.

The Transport Accident Commission initiative “Stop kidding yourself. If you drink, don’t drive.” will run from December 4 through to the end of January in response to the rising death toll.

It’s understood one in five people killed on Victorian roads had a blood alcohol concentration of .05 or higher.

The TAC warned alcohol consumed, in any quantity, influences a driver’s perception, vision, concentration, reaction time or cause drowsiness.

With drivers seemingly driving more dangerously, the messaging remains clear, with the TAC saying “if you’re planning to drink, don’t drive.”

TAC will launch the “Stop kidding yourself. If you drink, don’t drive.” campaign on Monday. Picture: Supplied.
TAC will launch the “Stop kidding yourself. If you drink, don’t drive.” campaign on Monday. Picture: Supplied.

TAC CEO Tracey Slatter said a culture shift was required to alleviate the rising death toll, adding it should not be considered “normal” to drive after drinking any amount of alcohol.

“Many people think they can manage their blood-alcohol level by following a set of vague rules handed down through generations,” Ms Slatter told Sky News.

“But the only way to avoid the risk entirely is to completely separate drinking and driving.”