Record Low Toll Despite Holiday Spike

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31st December 2009, 03:42pm - Views: 427
Record Low Road Toll Despite Holiday Spike

RACV is reminding motorists to exercise extreme caution following the 16th fatality on Victorian roads during the high-risk holiday period.

The death a young motorcyclist in Springvale overnight has pushed the Victorian holiday road toll to 16[1] - the second highest in Australia and the same number as last year.

RACV General Manager Public Policy, Brian Negus said that while Victoria was likely to register a record low road toll for 2009, the continuing high number of fatalities during the holiday period was very disappointing.

"Drink driving, speeding, risky behaviour and fatigue are the major concerns during this time of the year and we are asking motorists to take extra care on the roads tonight as New Year's Eve celebrations and predicted wild weather increase the risks for road users," Mr Negus said.

"During the next few days we are particularly concerned about the potential for a surge in drink-driving related fatalities," he said.

Mr Negus said the road toll for 2009, 295 as of midday today, was eight less than the same time last year, but still unacceptable and demonstrated the need for increased action in several areas such as speed enforcement, reducing roadside hazards, and improving vehicle safety technology.

RACV advises that if you are planning to drive, the only way to be certain of staying under .05 is to avoid drinking. If you do drink, the following strategies will help minimise the risk:

* use public transport or arrange alternative transport if you are likely to be drinking
* finish your glass before refilling to make it easier to keep count of your drinks
* be aware that some drinks may be larger than the standard glass size
* avoid drinking on an empty stomach
* remember that your BAC may rise for one to two hours after your last drink
* if you drink at night, you can still be over the limit the following morning.

"As a pedestrian, remember the basic safety precautions, which are even more important if you have been drinking as your judgement is impaired and reaction time slower. If possible, stay on footpaths and choose safe places to cross roads such as designated crossings and always hail a taxi from the kerb rather than the road," he said.

Media contact: Brian Negus, 0419 545 816

[1] Fatal crash and fatality statistics are preliminary pending completion of all coronial enquiries.


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