Australian state governments have reinforced their focus on road safety after the number of lives lost on roads Australia-wide increased in 2022. 

Victoria

As the year ended, tragically 240 people lost their lives on Victorian roads, an increase on the 233 deaths last year, but the fourth lowest since TAC records began, including the pandemic-effected record low of 211 in 2020.

Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Melissa Horne, said, “Our hearts go out to all those impacted by road trauma, we can’t accept that anyone should lose their life, or have it permanently changed, as a result of getting behind the wheel.”

Sadly, motorists on regional roads remain a significant concern with 134 people dying in country areas compared with 119 in 2021, while metropolitan road deaths dropped from 114 in 2021 to 106 in 2022.

Crashes on rural high-speed roads continue to be too frequent, where the combination of high speeds and motorists travelling longer distances mean consequences are often more severe when something goes wrong. More than two-thirds of regional fatalities occurred on 100-110km/h roads. 

There was a decline in driver and passenger deaths, totalling 126 down from 147, however, 27 per cent of people who died in a vehicle were not wearing a seatbelt. 

Sadly, vulnerable road users including motorcyclists, 57 up from 43, and pedestrians, 44 up from 29, fatalities increased.

Disappointingly, poor driver behaviour, including speeding and drink or drug driving, continues to contribute to lives lost on the roads, together with 40 per cent of unauthorised motorcyclists.

Victoria has historically been a world leader in road safety, from the introduction of compulsory seat belt laws to a no tolerance approach to drink driving.

Victorian Minister for Police, Anthony Carbines, said, “We want to see all Victorians making smart choices behind the wheel this new year and getting home safely. If you speed, use your phone or drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, rest assured, you will be caught.”

The Victorian Labor Government continues its unprecedented action to protect lives, improve safety and achieve the targets set out in its Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 and Action Plan including; halving the number of fatalities by 2030, with work focused across education, infrastructure, enforcement, policy and technology.

Initiatives target road user cohorts that are most at-risk including; vulnerable and unprotected road users, people who drive for work and roadside workers, and those who engage in high-risk behaviour.

The Victorian Budget 2021/22 invested $49.4 million to install and commission new fixed road safety cameras at 35 dangerous intersection sites and two point-to-point highway camera systems. These cameras will begin enforcement throughout 2023.

In 2023, Victorians are once again urged to slow down, put the phone away, never drive drunk or on drugs, take adequate breaks when driving long distances, and be aware of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Acting Head of Road Safety Victoria, Marcelo Vidales, said, “Too many people lost their lives this year and our thoughts are with the families and communities missing a loved one, there is more to be done and we will not stop working until all Victorians are safe on or around our roads.”

Tasmania

In Tasmania, 2022 has been a wake-up call for all road users with the highest number of fatalities experienced in more than a decade, with 50 people losing their lives, 15 more than the 35 fatalities in 2021 and 51 per cent above the five-year average.

Tasmanian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael Ferguson, said just one death on our roads is one too many.

“We know the impact of these deaths affects families, friends and entire communities. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by these tragedies, particularly as the absence of loved ones is especially felt during the Christmas season,” Minister Ferguson said.

In 2022 there were 255 serious injuries on Tasmanian roads, up from 248 in 2021, but four per cent below the five-year average. 

“These statistics show us that many challenges still lay ahead in our journey towards our target of zero serious injuries and deaths on Tasmanian roads,” Mr Ferguson said.

“Achieving this vision will only happen if every single one of us accepts responsibility for road safety and plays our part in making our roads safer for all road users.”

The Towards Zero Action Plan 2020-2024 sets out 42 key initiatives that the Tasmanian Government is implementing to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads.

To prepare young Tasmanians for a lifetime of safe driving, the Rockliff Liberal Government has progressively introduced a package of enhancements to the driver graduated licensing system since December 2020. This included increasing the number of required supervised driving hours in the learner phase and providing two free lessons with a driving instructor. 

A new mobile speed detection camera program was launched in 2022 with 5,579 speeding infringement notices being issued since the cameras were launched on 30 September 2022.

Dangerous drivers will continue to be targeted on Tasmanian roads as more cameras are introduced in 2023, with new camera technology detecting illegal mobile phone use and seatbelt noncompliance to be trialled early in 2023. 

The new speed camera program is supported by the ‘Over is Over’ campaign, which challenges motorists to rethink their attitudes to speed and encourages them to adjust their behaviour by not driving over the speed limit, at any level. ‘Over is Over’ was one of many public education campaigns implemented in 2022 to encourage safer road use in Tasmania.

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