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Mounting road toll: 10 dead since Sunday, acting top cop ‘very concerned’


The Victorian road toll has soared to 173, a 55 per cent increase on the same time last year.

Since Sunday, 10 people have been killed on the roads.

Acting Chief Commissioner Wendy Steendam says many of the fatalities could have been avoided.

“We’re very concerned about this,” she told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“There are many causal factors for the deaths we’ve had this year and many of them are preventable.”

The acting top cop cited not wearing seatbelts, speed, drug and drink driving, fatigue and distraction as the main factors contributing to the road toll.

Last week, police figures from the Mornington Peninsula showed alcohol and drug-fuelled accidents are on the rise.

The figures come after calls by a magistrate to make it easier to impose jail time on repeat drug drivers.

Currently, there are two types of drug driving offences, one of which cannot result in a jail sentence.

The most common offence, having a concentration of drugs in your blood, is not punishable by jail time.

The less frequently used charge, driving whilst impaired by a drug, can result in jail time. This offence is less commonly used as it requires police to establish impairment, which can be difficult.

Acting top cop Wendy Steendam said the legislative loophole “is something that probably does need to be looked at”.

Three of Victoria’s key road safety figures are currently in Sweden on study tour.

Police are planning a national crackdown on dangerous driving next month, with a focus on rural areas, which are overrepresented in fatality statistics.

Press PLAY below to watch the video of the acting top cop in studio.

Press PLAY below for the full interview.

The legal loophole that allows repeat drug drivers to avoid jail

Three of Victoria’s key road safety figures travel to Sweden in wake of road toll crisis