A CAMPAIGN targeting distraction on our roads, including mobile phone use, will be launched today as statistics show deaths on regional roads have nearly doubled from the same time last year.
The campaign launch comes as road authorities, victims, families, research groups and politicians will come together at a Road Safety Forum in Melbourne to discuss what is causing the alarming spike in the road toll.
And Roads Minister Jaala Pulford says nothing is off the table with the discussion to help form future road policy.
Regional Victoria has so far seen 85 people killed on its roads this year, up from 47 at the same time last year.
Dig further into the figures and it shows that 75 per cent of those fatalities have occurred within 35km of victims homes, dispelling the myth that city drivers or tourists are more likely to be killed on country roads.
Ms Pulford said greater speeds allowed on country roads was a clear point of difference to metropolitan roads.
"If you're in a vehicle and travelling at 100km/h and something happens, you've much less chance of survival," she said.
"What I want to impress upon people who travel is how they travel. At the end of the day, 100km/h is a maximum safe speed. Then you discount experience, you discount the conditions.
"The fact that 85 people out of the 139 killed on our roads are in regional Victoria and yet we are only 25 per cent of the population shows there's something we need to address."
Ms Pulford said the new campaign will focus on mobile phone use.
"We need to have different messages which are designed to reach different people," she said.
"Overwhelmingly people do the right thing, we all think we're pretty good drivers, but unfortunately we clearly can't all be that good."
The State Government this week - in its 2019/20 budget - announced a $425 million package to upgrade regional roads. TAC Road Safety Lead Director Samantha Cockfield said while the roll outs would eventually provide safer roads, it was up to motorists to drive to conditions.
"Most of the road deaths we've seen this year have been human error on high-speed regional roads, which are far less forgiving when mistakes are made," she said. "These are local people dying on local roads that they're familiar with and that they know.
"We need all Victorians to make safe decisions when they're using the roads; avoid fatigue, avoid drink and drug driving, avoid distractions, slow down and drive to conditions.
"The road safety summit and community discussions will help us bring together the experts and listen to the community, and make a plan to improve safety for all Victorian road users."