The Victorian Labor Government and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) have launched a pre-Christmas appeal to motorists to keep each other safe ahead of the festive season.

Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan joined senior representatives from the Transport Accident Commission, VicRoads and Victoria Police to ask motorists to slow down, plan their trips and avoid taking risks.

Victorians were invited to visit the TAC’s ‘Be Present’ display at the City of Melbourne’s Christmas festival at City Square – where they were able to dress up in Christmas costumes and pose for photographs to be made into Christmas cards and shared on social media.

The cards will also serve as a reminder to Victorians that the best thing they can give their loved ones this Christmas is to be there.

‘Be Present’ will tour regional and suburban carols events and is part of an unprecedented December effort by the state’s road safety agencies to keep Victorians safe on the roads.

The TAC will have a strong presence in regional Victoria these holidays as country Victorians are four times more likely to be killed on the roads than in metropolitan Melbourne.

TAC road safety teams will attend more than 40 regional events, including festivals and racing meets, providing safe driving advice, free breath tests, giveaways and more to prevent more lives being lost on country roads.

At the same time, money fast-tracked from a new $12 million TAC-funded enforcement program will help deliver the most visible police presence with an additional 1,300 police shifts on Victoria’s roads leading up to Christmas.

Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said: “We’ve had too many lives lost on our roads this year and that’s why we’re asking all Victorians to ‘Be Present’ this Christmas.

“We’re urging all Victorians to make good choices before they get behind the wheel this Christmas and reminding them the best gift they can give is just to be there.

“We know this time of year means more Victorians are on our roads, taking longer trips to see family and friends and that’s why we’re asking you to plan your journey, take breaks, don’t speed and arrive safely.”