More than 110 people have died on rural Victorian roads in 2016 –a double digit percentage increase in comparison to the same time last year.
The carnage on regional roads is no less devastating for the family, friends and communities which are impacted by fatalities.
But there is a sense that the incredible work undertaken to reduce the road toll during the past four decades has led to complacency.
Complacency in the form of less vigour in the discussion to reduce the toll further. And complacency in regard to driver behaviour.
The digital age has brought with it so many distractions. New ways for communities to communicate about the issues which they view as important. And new ways for drivers to be distracted.
There’s no doubt authorities are worried about the impact mobile phone and tablet use is contributing to accidents and deaths on our roads.
However, drink and drug driving and speed remain the major contributors to crashes.
The Transport Accident Commission’s new campaign – Towards Zero – is ambitious and pointed. It’s call to action is that no deaths on our roads is acceptable. And that every fatality and serious injury has an impact.
The challenge is to match the emotion with the reality. In the sceptical modern world, this is no small challenge. There must be new approaches and new ways to get the safe driving and behaviour message across.
Today, Fairfax Media mastheads across regional Victoria launch a new campaign: #homesafe.
Think about the last time you were on a road trip. Did you message, phone, or text a loved one to let them know you made it home safe? Often, if we don't hear those words from someone, we worry until we do.
During this campaign, Fairfax mastheads will be providing stories across print and online platforms about the dangers on our roads and methods authorities use to raise awareness and educate drivers.
We will also be reporting the impact road fatalities have on the mums and dads, brothers and sisters, friends and associates and most importantly the communities of those who are impacted.
These are not easy stories to tell. But it has become necessary to enforce a message about the consequences of taking risks.
We want all members of our communities to arrive home safe.