IT HAS been a horror start to the year in country Victoria with 10 of the state's 14 fatalities occurring on regional roads.
Three more people have died on rural roads so far this year compared with the same period last year.
Victoria Police road policing operation head Superintendent Neville Taylor said speed, alcohol and not wearing seatbelts were believed to be factors in some of the deaths.
"It has been nothing short of a tragic start to 2012," Supt Taylor said.
"We are certainly looking at the involvement of those three factors in some of these incidents and that is just totally unacceptable.
"We know alcohol and driving kills, we know speed kills and we know seat belts save lives. We've got 10 people who've lost their lives on country roads in Victoria that could so easily have been avoided."
Supt Taylor urged drivers, including holidaymakers unfamiliar with regional roads, to take care.
"We're definitely asking people to be safe and sensible and to recognise how risky it is, particularly on rural roads.
"The Christmas and New Year period might be over, but we've still got to be out there in full force and I ask the community to work with us. The message needs to keep going out to people that it can happen to you if you don't do the right thing."