Ballarat police have moved to warn motorists about the dangers of mobile phone usage after a shocking study revealed most Victorians use phones behind the wheel.
The Australian Road and Safety Foundation found 62 per cent of Victorian motorists admitted to using a phone while driving, greatly increasing the likelihood of serious accidents and endangering lives.
While not commenting on the study directly, Ballarat Highway Patrol Sergeant Ben Young said the ongoing use of phones was a major concern to the force, which scouts Central Highlands roads for drivers flouting the law.
“Police wish to remind the community that road safety is everyone’s responsibility,” he said.
“The continued use of mobile phones when driving continues to concern police.”
Ninety-six people have died on Victoria’s roads this year, with the majority of these tragedies occurring on country roads as opposed to metropolitan Melbourne.
Australian Road and Safety Foundation chief executive Russell White, who oversaw the study, argued reducing fatalities would come from peer pressure instead of authorities dictating road laws.
"We need to create a culture where we call each other out on bad behaviour behind the wheel, instead of shuffling the responsiblity onto others," he said.
Mr White singled out Friday as the deadliest day of the week on Australian roads, with 214 fatalities in 2016, or 16 per cent of the entire road toll.
Only two Fridays have recorded no fatalities over the last decade.
All Victorian drivers face tough penalties for the illegal use of a mobile phone or using other units that have visual displays such as DVD players.
Penalties include four demerit points and a $466 fine.
VicRoads said phones distract drivers in many ways.
“Taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds when driving at 50 km/h means you travel for 27 metres effectively blind.”