Member for Mildura Ali Cupper joined Minister Roads and Safety Jaala Pulford at the Mildura intersection that was recently upgraded as part of the Government’s $25million intersection safety enhancement program. Ms Pulford was in Mildura on Thursday to attend the TAC’s  Toward Zero community consultation.

By JOHN DOOLEY

MINISTER for Roads and Safety Jaala Pulford was in Mildura to attend the Transport Accident Commission’s (TAC) Towards Zero community consultation session at the Quality Mildura Grand Hotel on Thursday night, prior to which she visited one of the intersections that is being upgraded in Mildura as part of a statewide campaign.

More than 200 intersections are being upgraded across rural Victoria under a $25million program,, which will see safety standards lifted at those dangerous locations.

Intersections in Mildura to receive upgrades include Seventeenth Street and Ontario Avenue, Campbell Avenue and McCracken Street, and Etiwanda Avenue and Gordon Avenue.

As part of the upgrades, additional signage will be installed and line marking undertaken, something that has already taken place at the Ontario and Seventeenth Street intersection.

Further upgrades including rumble strips, traffic islands and line marking will be carried out at the other intersections.

Minister Pulford said that the Towards Zero strategy, which aimed to reduce to Victoria’s road toll to below 200 and lower, came with $1.4billion of investment.

“More than 40 percent of our serious and fatal injuries occur at intersections,” she said. 

“With the intersection at Ontario and the Calder Highway already being completed, the other two, which have been confirmed in the program will see those upgrades underway by March next year.”

Minister Pulford said that despite police and TAC’s best efforts to convey the safety message and prevent accidents from happening, there are some people who just aren’t listening.

“I think there is a very small number of people in the community for whom all of these messages about safety, for whatever reason, we are not reaching,” she said.

“There are people who are engaging in risky behaviour, they are a small percentage of the population. In our crash data this year, we have seen quite an increase in the number of people in accidents who aren’t wearing a seat belt, motor cyclists without helmets and it’s hard to believe.

“This is a real challenge, and the other statistic that stands out, is that three quarters of people who die on our roads are men, and so in some respects, this is a men’s health issue.”

Ms Pulford said that’s why it is vitally important that the police have the resources they need to combat the roll toll.

“They need all of the resources and the right technology to be able perform their role effectively, that’s very important, as is deterrence through the threat of a nasty fine and loss of points and licenses,” she said.

“However we also need to make the roads more forgiving. This is grounded in the idea that you have good people doing the right thing, but sometimes people make mistakes. 

“A momentary lapse of concentration, being fatigued, where human error results in catastrophic consequences. That’s what these intersection upgrades and safety barriers on our highways and country roads are all about – making sure if something goes wrong – the road will be more forgiving.