The number of lives lost on Victoria's roads fell to a record low in 2020, but worryingly, Victoria Police says the rate of trauma increased.
Last year, provisional statistics show, 213 people died as a result of road trauma, 27 of whom lost their lives on central Victorian roads.
More than half of those who died on the roads lost their lives in regional areas.
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The number of deaths on Victorian roads in 2020 was the lowest on record, equal to 2018.
But Assistant Commissioner Libby Murphy, from Victoria Police's Road Policing Command, said there was "significantly more trauma" in 2020 per 10,000 vehicles on the road.
Ms Murphy said police saw concerning behaviour on the roads during lockdown.
"Our levels of speed over 145 km/h were staggering, in terms of over-representation," she said.
Ms Murphy said speed, drugs and alcohol, failure to wear seatbelts, and distraction were all significant factors in fatal crashes.
She also noted fatigue and stressed the importance of taking breaks, with so many Victorians travelling back from NSW.
Thirty-four per cent of fatal crashes involved speed, 32 per cent involved drugs, and alcohol was a factor in 21 per cent.
Two more cyclists were killed in 2020 than the previous year, at 13.
But the number of motorcyclists and pedestrians who died, 33 and 29 respectively, was lower than 2019.
"People in vehicles need to understand the vulnerability, and the fact that people who are either walking, on bicycles or on motorcycles aren't protected by a cocoon such as a car, so you need to be polite, you need to be courteous, you need to look around, you need to look for motorcycles, you need to look for bikes, and you need to look for pedestrians," Ms Murphy said.
While the number of road deaths was the lowest on record for the state overall, the same could not be said for central Victoria.
Last year saw the fourth-highest number of people die on the region's roads in the past decade.
Of the 27 people who lost their lives in central Victoria last year, seven died in Greater Bendigo.
The previous year, there were 29 deaths on central Victorian roads, eight of which occurred in Greater Bendigo.
"I want to make it quite clear that rural people are dying on rural roads, and it's not city people who don't know how to drive on those roads," Ms Murphy said.
Eighteen of those who died in central Victoria in 2020 were the driver, two were passengers, five were pedestrians, and two were cyclists.
This represented the highest number of pedestrians who died on the region's roads in at least 10 years.
Last year, 81 per cent of those who died from road trauma in central Victoria were male.
But road trauma extends beyond fatal crashes and the effect on the loved ones of those who lose their lives, with serious injuries sustained in crashes also having irrevocable impacts on people.
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Transport Accident Commission chief executive officer Joe Calafiore said the organisation received 20,000 new clients each year.
"I can tell you, tomorrow we will turn our phones on and we'll get 80 new clients tomorrow, we'll get 300 new clients this week," Mr Calafiore said on Friday.
Ms Murphy urged people to stop making poor choices behind the wheel.
"What I'm asking each and every one of you to do, is to slow down, be courteous, be patient - I challenge you to do your part, be good humans, understand the impact you can have on other road users," she said.
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