Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by Warrnambool Standard deputy editor Rachael Houlihan.
You've heard it all before. The message from police is always clear: slow down, don't get behind the wheel if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and drive to the weather conditions.
But it's not getting across. One woman who knows that all too well is Melinda Dine.
When she saw a Facebook post her aunt had written after witnessing a fatal car crash five years ago, she never thought it was a sign her own world was about to come crashing down.
Ms Dine shared her condolences and commented on the post, saying: "I'm just glad it wasn't you".
A few hours later she found out the woman who had been killed in the crash, in the western Victorian town of Stawell, was her mother.
A drug-affected and fatigued driver had fallen asleep at the wheel and crashed into Ms Dine's stepfather's car.
Kate Cassells, Ms Dine's mother, died and her husband Geoffrey Cassells was seriously injured. He will spend the rest of his life in full-time care.
Ms Dine said her mother's death was "wasteful and senseless".
Another unnecessary death on our roads.
Day in, day out we see horrific images of gnarled and shredded cars and grieving families crying for their loved ones after yet another road accident claims a precious life.
And it never seems to stop. Indeed, in some states the road toll is on the rise.
On Monday an 18-year-old woman had her life tragically cut short after a crash near Noorat, in Victoria's south-west.
Port Fairy police Sergeant Walkley said it was the third major accident on south-west roads he had attended in eight days.
"People just have to take more care and drive to the conditions," he said. "Country roads can be very dangerous at times."
The crash came in the same fortnight as two other fatals in the south-west Victorian region, including an accident that took the life of a young man at Woorndoo on January 30.
The following night near Allansford a man was killed in a single vehicle accident.
And on Saturday night a cyclist suffered critical injuries after attempting to cross the Princes Highway at Dennington. He is fighting for life.
Three people, including a 12-year-old girl, were seriously injured in a crash in Liverpool, New South Wales, on Saturday.
The Australian national road toll jumped by 4.7 per cent to nearly 1200 last year.
In South Australia the toll increased 42.5 per cent on the year before, while in Victoria it was up 25.8 per cent.
The state with the highest road toll was New South Wales with 352 deaths, followed by 268 in Victoria.
Speed, drink and drug driving, distraction, fatigue and not wearing seatbelts were all common factors in Victoria's increased annual road toll.
Unless we take personal responsibility your family could be added to the toll through no fault of their own - just like Melinda Dine's - in an instant.
deputy editor, Warrnambool Standard