We are already in November and before you know it we will be in the midst of Christmas celebrations. When the weather is warming up and there is hint of summer in the air, people seem to make poor choices and take more risks on our roads.
Road trauma affects too many Victorians over our summer months. In fact, 2012 has been a horror year when we consider the number of fatalities and serious injuries that have occurred on our roads.
Road safety continues to be an area of priority for Victoria Police. Victorians are more likely to die violently as the result of road trauma than any other cause. Each person we lose on our roads is one too many. Road trauma causes pain and heartache to too many Victorians who lose family and friends. It’s why police are asking you to take more care on the road.
Unfortunately messages such as “Don’t Drink and Drive” and “Wipe Off 5” aren’t always taken seriously. Be sensible – if you plan to have a drink then don’t drive, it’s as simple as that. Nominate a designated driver, plan for someone to pick you up or call a taxi. But alcohol isn’t the only killer on our roads, fatigue and distracted driving is just as dangerous.
Another distraction is the use of mobile phones when driving. Last year, on average, 151 Victorians were booked each day ($282 fine and 3 demerit points) for using their mobile phones while driving. Many will say that is an extreme measure but research shows that texting, talking or looking at your phone is so distracting it is comparable to driving with an alcohol limit of .08.
Mobile phones have become so important in our lives but there is no excuse to use them in any way while driving. There should be nothing more important than making sure you – and others – arrive at the destination safely. If you need to use your phone then pull over and stop, or have your phone in an approved hands free cradle. Taking away this distraction will certainly contribute to reducing our road toll. This also applies to the use of mp3 players and GPS devices which can be just as distracting.
Remember, road safety is a shared responsibility. We can all contribute to safer roads and safer driving behaviour. By working together we can substantially reduce serious casualties from road accidents and spare many Victorian families the grief of suffering the loss or serious injury of a loved one on our roads. By adopting a few simple safety precautions we can significantly improve road safety across the state and ensure this is a happy Christmas.
by Gabrielle Tyacke Victoria Police Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer