Why the change from calling it ‘Road Toll’ to ‘Lives Lost’?


The problem with talking about ‘road toll’ is that it implies that road trauma is an acceptable cost of having roads. A toll is the price we pay for using something – with toll roads, for example, it’s a few dollars.

Road toll wording also has the effect of dehumanising road trauma. By reducing people’s lives to a number, it makes it easier for the community to feel distanced from the issue.  These are not just numbers, they are people – someone’s child, mother, father, sister, brother, friend or colleague.

If we accept this ‘road toll’ as the price of a rural lifestyle or getting from A to B, another 2,500 people will die in the next 10 years and 50,000 people will be hospitalised with serious and life changing injuries.

The fact is we’re talking about people who have died. Instead of saying, “our road toll stands at 150″, let’s say “150 lives lost on Victorian roads”.

The price we pay for using the road shouldn’t be death or serious injury.


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