The Age: News: 9 December 2012: Flowers by the side of the Princes freeway near Lara form a memorial to 5 people who died in a head on car crash.?JHF121209.002.003?Photo: Joseph Feil The Age: News: 9 December 2012: Flowers by the side of the Princes freeway near Lara form a memorial to 5 people who died in a head on car crash.?JHF121209.002.006?Photo: Joseph Feil

A roadside memorial to five people who died in a road accident near Lara last month. Photo: Joseph Feil

VICTORIA looks set to record its lowest road toll ever.

As of New Year's Eve, 278 people had died on Victorian roads in 2012, nine fewer fatalities than in 2011, making it the lowest road toll on record.

When records began in 1952, 600 people lost their lives on the roads, while the toll peaked in 1970 with 1061 deaths.

Acting Premier Peter Ryan said while it was an achievement to have significantly reduced the road toll, 278 people was equivalent to the population of many small towns in his Gippsland South electorate. ''I can't help but think that the concept of having one of those towns being absolutely wiped out in a year because of road deaths is something completely unacceptable,'' Mr Ryan, who is also the Police and Emergency Services Minister, said.

Mr Ryan said people were being killed and injured on the roads not because of accidents, but because of collisions where people made the wrong choices such as speeding and drink-driving.