http://www.vicpolicenews.com.au/more-news/5771-christmas-holiday-road-toll-review.html Christmas holiday road toll review Wednesday, 22 December 2010 05:36 If you are a young male driver undertaking general social or day-to-day travel on a Tuesday between the hours of 2pm and 4pm you are most at risk of dying in a car crash on Victorian roads during the Christmas holiday period. These findings, launched today, were uncovered in a Coroners Prevention Unit review, the first of its kind in Australia to examine more than a decade of fatal collisions in Victoria during the Christmas holiday period. The review, which studied 170 coronial fatal collision investigations during 11 Christmas periods from 1999/2000 to 2009/2010 has challenged common held perceptions that most people die on Victorian roads during the Christmas holiday period because they are travelling long distances to holiday destinations. Of the deaths reviewed, 70 per cent occurred whilst the driver was undertaking general social or day-to-day activities such as driving to shopping centres, visiting friends or leaving a licensed venue. Holiday-related travel was associated with 19 per cent of light vehicle (car) deaths and 14 per cent of overall road user deaths. Passenger deaths during the Christmas holiday period were also higher than at other times of the year. The research also disputed the long held belief that city people die on country roads. Instead, the review revealed that 66 per cent of fatalities involving people who lived in rural areas occurred in rural areas. Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner (Road Policing) Ken Lay requested the Coroners Prevention Unit, a research unit within the Coroners Court of Victoria, undertake the review in January this year to explore the reasons as to why there has been no decline in the Christmas road toll, despite intensive efforts by police and road safety organisations. Mr Lay welcomed the report’s release and said that detailed information was the most powerful tool in having an impact on road trauma. “While the annual number of fatal collisions in Victoria continues to decline, there is one period every year in which there is no decline in deaths – the Christmas holiday period,” Mr Lay said. “Collisions at this time are contributing to an increasing proportion of the annual road toll, rising from 2.5 per cent of deaths in 1999-2000 up to 5 per cent in 2009-2010. This is despite the strong efforts of police and road safety organisations including the TAC, VicRoads, SES and others every year. “We know that with holiday driving comes risk – people are driving long distances on often unfamiliar roads. But this review shows that a significant number of deaths over this period are in fact people undertaking day-to-day short distance trips to shopping centres and the like. This just shows that we all need to be vigilant on the road at all times and on all trips. The review also showed that the most common deaths occurred in single vehicle collisions, usually after the vehicle had run off a straight carriage way. These collisions occurred more often in daylight hours, usually between the hours of 2pm to 4pm. The review also found that an average of one person died each day on Victorian roads during the Christmas holiday road toll period and that alcohol was a factor in almost one-third of fatal collisions. Speed was involved in 25 per cent of these fatalities, whilst fatigue was a factor in 19 per cent and illicit drug use involved 14 per cent. “I strongly believe that education is essential in reducing road trauma. If we can tell the community exactly what the biggest risks are in road deaths over this period, we arm people with the knowledge to not become a statistic,” Mr Lay said. Coroners Prevention Unit Manager Samantha Hauge said she was pleased to officially release the review to police which aims to help road safety agencies reduce the number of preventable deaths on Victorian roads. “This extensive review has identified many key risk factors that contribute to fatal collisions during the Christmas holiday road toll period. “But at the same time it also indicates that there are gaps in the details that could help road safety agencies better determine why there has not been a significant decrease in the Christmas holiday road toll period during the past 11 years despite extensive efforts by police and other agencies,” she said “This includes information such as the number of kilometres travelled and traffic volumes on those roads at the time of the fatal collision as compared to at other times of the year. This would allow researchers to better assess what other factors influence driver behaviour during this time of year,” Ms Hauge said. “As a result of these findings we have recommended that Victorian road safety agencies consider analysing not just fatal crashes, but serious and other casualty crashes to compare any patterns of crash rates between the Christmas holiday period and non-holiday periods.” The report is available for download on the Coroners Court website at www.coronerscourt.vic.gov.au The official Christmas holiday period is defined as the 15-day period from the Friday before Christmas day to the Friday after 31 December. Last year there were 16 road deaths over the 2009-2010 Christmas-New Year holiday period. Victoria Police Media Unit VP7855/2010 - - - - - - - - - It's about time that Vicpol got some real data. I knew it would be hiding in true analysis of the coroners reports. For so many years the police have trotted out the perception of long distance travelling causing crashes and blitzed the state... It seems to me, that the increase is just due to exposure. More people on the roads doing things... Here's the location of the report. http://www.coronerscourt.vic.gov.au...ctorian+christmas+holiday+road+toll+1999-2010 I've only had a surface skim of the report, but there are three key highlights - One - the authors did not drawn any conclusions regarding the police blitzes in the period that have failed to bring down the xmas road toll. HELLO?? The enforcement lever isn't getting into the root cause of collisions... what do you expect?! Second highlight is that motorcycles get a special mention - 22 xmas period deaths in 10 years... 17 were travelling for social reasons... and guess what? Most motorcycle deaths involved another vehicle. Surprise surprise. And the third is this clanger in the conclusion - it leapt out at me: Fark me, the FRP makes up their own decisions about whether a road fatality should be attributed to the road toll... is it any wonder there's been an adjustment DOWNWARDS of 16 in the last few weeks. The pressure to be seen to be doing something by the road toll must be intense... what a conflict of interest - Dracula in charge of the blood bank anyone??