Editorial: Plan to arrive safely for Christmas lunch

With just two weeks until Christmas, most people have decorated their tree, put a dent in their Christmas shopping and may have even started writing their Christmas cards.

With all that planning to be done, it’s quite easy to forget one important aspect at this time of the year … road safety.

As many people will be intending to travel this time of the year to get to family and friends for the festive season or go on that well-earned family holiday, road safety is paramount.

And it’s everyone’s responsibility to be safe on our roads.

So a new Transport Accident Commission road safety campaign launched on Sunday is vitally important and it carries a message that every motorist needs to heed … think twice before taking risks on our roads this Christmas.

Risks include drink-driving (particularly with all the Christmas parties); speed (everyone is in a hurry to get to their Christmas destination); distractions (whether it be mobile phones or excited children in the back seat).

Roads and Road Safety Minister Luke Donnellan unveiled the new campaign, which takes aim at those three major risk factors in Victorian road trauma.

The new TAC campaign asks motorists to ‘think of us before you drive’, referring to the heightened police presence on the state’s roads across the upcoming Christmas and holiday period.

A television ad features Victoria Police members and aims to deter risky behavior before it happens – asking people to consider the presence of police on the roads each time they drive.

Victoria Police will increase traffic enforcement operations over the Christmas and holiday period as part of Operation Roadwise, targeting dangerous driver behavior.

Last year, 26 drivers died on Victorian roads with a blood alcohol level over .05, police issued almost 130,000 penalty notices for speeding and detected almost 28,000 mobile phone infringements.

In launching the campaign on Sunday, Mr Donnellan said there was no excuse for drink-driving, speeding or using your phone while driving. “… we see too many tragedies caused by this behaviour.”

If all motorists listen to this TAC message, there may be fewer empty chairs at the family Christmas table.