Six radical ideas to cut Victoria’s road toll
From million-dollar speeding fines to in-car alcohol detectors, countries around the world are adopting bold initiatives to reduce deaths on their roads.
Would the prospect of a $1.5 million fine deter you from speeding? That’s the amount one multi-millionaire was fined in Switzerland after being clocked driving at 300kmh – 170kmh over the speed limit. Switzerland is just one of several European countries that calculate speeding fines according to the offender’s bank balance.
It’s a novel approach designed to deter the very wealthy from flouting the road rules, and a prime example of the bold initiatives some countries are adopting in an effort to reduce deaths and serious injuries on their roads.
An average of 248 people have died on Victoria’s roads every year since 2016.
Victoria, of course, has a proud history as a trailblazer in road safety, dating back to 1970 when it became the first jurisdiction in the world to introduce mandatory seatbelt laws. That year, a record 1061 people lost their lives on Victoria’s roads.
While the number of road deaths has dropped dramatically since then, thanks to the introduction of successive safety measures including random blood-alcohol tests (1976) and electronic stability control in all new cars (2011), fatal and serious road accidents still devastate hundreds of Victorian families each year.
Since 2016, an average of 248 people have died on the state’s roads annually, and for every one of those fatalities, it is estimated that another 30 people sustained life-changing injuries.
Victoria has been a world leader in road safety, but there is also much we can learn from what other countries are doing.
So what can be done to reduce these terrible numbers? RACV senior safety policy adviser Elvira Lazar says Victorian policy makers must think big and consider necessary but difficult decisions when it comes to saving lives on our roads. “Victoria has been a world leader in road safety, but there is also much we can learn from what other countries are doing,” she says.
With this in mind, here are six bold initiatives from overseas that could help save lives on our roads.
Road-safety experts are developing a new technology that enables cars to automatically detect if a driver is drunk without them having to physically do a breath-test.