Wimmera road toll stays steady in 2013

THE provisional road toll for the Wimmera remained steady in 2013, with 10 fatalities.

The same number of deaths were recorded in 2012, while nine people died in 2011.

But deaths rose in Horsham, Yarriambiack and Northern Grampians municipalities.

Northern Grampians Shire recorded the highest fatalities, with five deaths, two more than in 2012.

Two of the deceased were aged 70 and over.

The remaining three were between 30 and 59.

Three people died in Horsham last year, one more than in 2012.

Two were drivers; the third person was a passenger.

The deceased were aged between 18 and 49.

An elderly woman died while driving in Yarriambiack Shire.

No fatalities were recorded in the municipality the previous year.

A man in his 40s died while driving in West Wimmera Shire, which recorded the same number of road deaths as the previous year.

There were no deaths on Ararat’s roads in 2013, a significant improvement on the four fatalities in 2012.

Hindmarsh Shire was free of fatalities in 2013, also recording no deaths in 2012.

Wimmera Divisional Inspector Gary Coombes said he was generally pleased with the results, although there was always room for improvement.

“Police will never rest on their laurels in regard to the road toll,” he said.

“While we’re seeing positive results, we know there are still people out there prepared to take unnecessary risks.”

He said fatigue and driver distraction were the biggest issues on the region’s roads.

“If you associate speed with those factors, you increase the risk considerably,” Mr Coombes said.

The state-wide provisional road toll was 242, the lowest in almost 90 years. 

“We haven’t seen a road toll this low since 1924, when 224 people were killed on our roads,” Acting Premier Peter Ryan said.

Forty fewer people died on Victorian roads in 2013 than the previous year.

But six out of every 10 deaths last year happened in rural areas.

A Fairfax Media analysis of Transport Accident Commission statistics found country Victoria had its highest ever share of the state’s road toll in 2013.

Of the 242 deaths included in the provisional road toll, 145 happened on regional roads.

Elderly drivers were also over-represented, making up almost a quarter of the provisional road toll.

The official road toll will be finalised on February 1.

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