Police poised to swarm south-west roads

POLICE are urging drivers to take extra care this long weekend as visitors flock to the south-west for the annual Port Fairy Folk Festival and the start of the tuna fishing season.

Officers will be out in force during the next four days as part of Operation Arid which aims to combat a traditional Labour Day spike in road trauma.

Senior Sergeant Shane Keogh, of Warrnambool police, said extra officers were rostered on this weekend to assist in Port Fairy and target driver behaviour across the region.

He said those officers would be focused on expected peak times from Friday through to Monday with a focus on drink- driving, driver distraction and speeding.

“We would ask all motorists to plan their drives and take two-hour breaks when they feel tired so everyone can have a safe and enjoyable long weekend,” Senior Sergeant Keogh said.

During the past five years there were 13 fatal collisions during the Labour Day weekend across Victoria. This year 48 people have already lost their lives — nine more than at the same time last year. 

During the four-day blitz, State Highway Patrol members, general police and Operations Response Unit officers will be deployed across the state, zeroing in on areas identified as high-risk. 

Every police vehicle will act as a mobile booze bus and motorists can expect to be breath-tested and drug-tested anywhere and any time. 

VicRoads Transport Safety Services units will join police in patrolling major arterial routes on selected days to ensure that all vehicles and drivers are compliant with road laws. 

Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill said many collisions during previous long weekends involved motorcyclists or trail bike riders travelling on unsealed road. He said alcohol and drugs were also common and deadly factors. 

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