YOUNG Victorian drivers have been urged to look after themselves and their mates on the roads after young driver and passenger deaths more than doubled in 2015.
Transport Accident Commission data shows 39 people aged 16-20 died on Victorian roads in 2015, up 105 per cent from 19 in 2014.
Last year, 18 drivers aged 18 to 20 lost their lives, up from eight in 2014, while 11 passengers aged 16 to 17 died, up from four in 2014. Most of these young people (22) died in crashes on regional roads.
TAC’s Tony Dudley said the only acceptable number of road deaths was zero and all Victorians had a role to play in ensuring themselves and their friends were not hurt on the roads.
“Every road death is someone’s friend or loved one and, if we are to reach our goal of zero, it’s important that we all shoulder responsibility for keeping each other safe on our roads,” Mr Dudley said.
“Whether it’s speaking up from the passenger in seat when you see something unsafe or just talking to a mate if you have concerns about their driving, these are things that could prevent a tragedy.”
Mr Dudley said, while risk taking remains a factor in youth road trauma, inexperience is also a major contributor to young driver crashes.
“Most young drivers try to do the right thing and avoid behaviours like drink driving, speeding or talking on the phone while driving. Not having years of experience behind the wheel really comes into play when something unexpected happens on the roads.”
The TAC has called on parents to stay involved with their children’s driving after they graduate from their L-plates.
Parents are also encouraged to talk to their children, even as young adults, about avoiding risky situations and having other strategies to keep them safe, including offering to drive them and their mates to and from events or nights out.
“That conversation or that ride home could mean the difference between your child having a great night out with friends and tragedy,” Mr Dudley said.
“Ensuring your child is driving the safest possible car is also critical and parents can visit howsafeisyourfirstcar.com.au to find safe and affordable options within their budget.”
The TAC expects staff at its Vanessa bus will deliver thousands of free breath tests at music 2015 festivals this summer as part of a focus on promoting positive driving habits among young Victorians.
Drivers who complete their probationary driving period with a clean driving record are eligible for a free three-year licence under the state government’s Young Drivers Safety Package.
For more information on how to keep young drivers safe, visit saferpplaters.com.au.