Drivers who use mobile phones behind the wheel will be the target of an intensified police campaign for the fourth annual Yellow Ribbon National Road Safety Week.
The Chief Police Officer for the ACT, Rudi Lammers, launched the National Road Safety Week alongside Minister for Road Safety Shane Rattenbury in Ainslie Place on Monday.
The theme for this year's campaign is "Stop Driving Blind!" and Mr Lammers said police will be "on the hunt" for people who text and use social media while driving.
"Every single second that people are distracted could mean a fatality on our roads," he said. The campaign was launched in front of a display of empty tables and chairs representing the 50 people killed on ACT roads over the past five years.
Mr Rattenbury said the 50 empty chairs, which included a baby's high chair, were a "really grim reminder" of what can happen when people are complacent while driving.
"It's a really extraordinary number for such a small territory," he said. "Here in the ACT we have extremely good roads and people do relax. But we can't be complacent and we need to know that if you take a text message or check your Facebook while driving, that time you are looking at the screen is time you are not looking at the road."
National buildings and bridges will be lit up in yellow this week to commemorate those who have lost their lives on Australia's roads and to remind drivers of road safety. The 2016 ACT road toll sits at two deaths so far compared with 15 deaths in 2015, the highest road toll in five years.
By comparison, NSW, Australia's worst state, has a 2016 road toll of 138 deaths, up from 101 deaths at this time last year. More than 1200 Australians have been killed on roads in the last year, an increase from previous years.
Road safety campaigner Peter Frazer called on the community to put down their phones and to "Drive So Others Survive".
"Road safety is not just about looking after yourself, it's about looking after those on the road ahead," he said.
NRMA Spokesperson Ron Collins said it's important we look after each other on the road. "Road safety is everybody's responsibility," he said. "It shouldn't have to be just down to police and road safety units."
To increase safety on ACT roads Mr Rattenbury said mobile speed vans have been spending double the time on Canberra's roads, a visual presence the Minister hopes will make drivers slow down.