Two teenage boys have died after their car burst into flames after hitting a tree on the Princes Freeway at Altona, in Melbourne’s south-west.
The driver was an 18-year-old from Yarraville, who had only had his driver’s licence for about a week.
The other boy, 16, was from Altona North. They were travelling with two other vehicles to Lake Eildon for New Year’s Eve celebrations.
They missed the turn-off for the Western Ring Road and the passenger was on the phone to his friends in one of the other cars getting instructions on how to get back onto the freeway, when the car crashed into the tree and erupted in flames.
The accident happened on the Princes Freeway between Doherts Road and Kororoit Creek Road at Altona just after 11:00pm.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer, from the Road Policing Command, said the deaths were an absolute tragedy.
“I don’t know how those other young kids [in the other cars] will get past this,” he said.
“How a family reconcile the loss of a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old boy is beyond me.”
Roadside testing finds drivers making ‘poor choices’
Assistant Commissioner Fryer said distraction and inexperience probably contributed to the crash.
“That’s a relatively complicated intersection, particularly if you miss the turn,” he said.
“We know there was some inexperience, there was a lack of familiarity with that intersection and I dare say some distraction as well.”
He implored drivers to concentrate on getting between “point A and point B” and to take action if someone is not fit to drive, because of drugs, alcohol or fatigue.
“When you’re travelling to their New Year’s destination point pay due care on the roads,” he said.
“All Victorians [need] to step up and look after your mates. If they’re not right to drive, do something about it. Make sure they don’t get behind the wheel.”
Police have been running Operation Roadwise since December 13, but Assistant Commissioner Fryer said Victorians continued to make “poor choices” when driving.
Of the 330,000 people tested for drunk-driving, 657 tested positive, while one in 11 people tested for drug driving returned positive results.
Another 5,600 people were booked for speeding.
Assistant Commissioner Fryer said the statistics were “disturbing”.
In 2015, 256 people died on the roads in Victoria, seven more than the previous year.
This post originally appeared on ABC Online.
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