Call the road toll what it is

Vic crashes

Did you know 280 people lost their lives on Victorian roads in the 12 months to May 2017? It’s a shocking statistic – 6.1% more lives lost than the previous year. It’s the second worst after NSW where 362 died in the year to April 2017.

The tragedy of road accidents is that, for every life lost, many more people have terrible injuries. Transport Accident Commission (TAC) figures show:

  • In the year to October 2016, 7,036 crash victims had to go to hospital
  • This was 15.2% higher than the previous year
  • 993 of them had to stay in hospital for more than 14 days (up 4.1%).

One Practical Motoring commentator estimated this was about 20,000 days in hospital. At a cost of $1,000 per day, that means we spend $20 million to treat them.

It’s unacceptable that so many accidents happen in simple and easily preventable ways:

  • Running off a straight road: 1,244 people
  • Running off a road on a curve: 567 people.

Road toll? Lives lost

Victorian authorities are anxious to try and bring home how serious are the rises in road deaths and injuries.

From now on, TAC will no longer call road deaths the “road toll”. This is because a toll implies a necessary cost, like a toll paid on a motorway. Using the word “toll” also dehumanises the tragedy.

In Victoria, they will now say “100 lives lost on Victorian roads”, rather than “our road toll stands at 100”.

For each life lost, there are also hundreds more who to go hospital for serious and life changing injuries. They might not lose their lives, but they lose their lifestyle forever.