Truckies targeted in Victorian road safety blitz

Victorian road toll to exceed last year, as police call for help in trucking industry to reduce trauma

Samantha Freestone | September 10, 2009

More people will die on Victorian roads this year compared to last, and police say the trucking industry is largely to blame.

Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Ken Lay used a speech to a safety forum at the Freight 2009 event in Melbourne today to call for help among trucking operators in reducing road trauma.

Lay acknowledged road deaths have declined from 1061 in 1969 to 213 last year.

But 204 people have already died on Victorian roads this year, with the number set to exceed last year’s toll.

He says young drivers and the heavy vehicle industry are largely to blame and will be the focus of a renewed safety campaign.

He revealed the police safety taskforce will be beefed with funding from the last State Budget, doubling its numbers over the next two years.

Four extra taskforce members will be added to the on-road drug testing unit, which is also set to be expanded over the next year.

"As an organisation we have left it to the taskforce but now we want to educate the whole police force in drug testing," he told the forum.

He urged the freight industry to play its part and improve safety systems.

"No matter what we do, what VicRoads does, no matter the ads the TAC [Transport Accident Commission] puts out there, without the help of your industry we will never lower these fatality rates," he said.

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