South-west motorists will shell out around $240,000 in fines after police issued more than 800 traffic infringements over the holiday period.
The drivers were fined during Operation Roadwise, a 24-day statewide road safety campaign which targeted dangerous, impaired and irresponsible driving.
Warrnambool police Acting Inspector Steve Thompson said the campaign, which ran from December 15 to January 7, targeted drug and alcohol affected drivers and motorists who were speeding and driving dangerously.
The infringements were issued in Western Region division 2 which includes the south-west local government areas of Warrnambool, Moyne, Corangamite, Southern Grampians and Glenelg.
He said the majority of traffic offences were for excessive speed and driver distraction, predominantly mobile phone use, and seat belt offences.
“That is disappointing because they are three of the themes we commonly see in our road trauma figures which are speed, alcohol, distraction and fatigue,” Acting Inspector Thompson said.
Acting Inspector Thompson said traffic infringement fines ranged between $200 and $400.
He said 40 drink and drug driving offences were recorded from almost 20,500 breath tests conducted across the region during the operation.
“It is still a high number in a period and it’s 40 more than we would like to see,” he said. “There’s no acceptable level when it comes to offences like that.
“We did see several high range readings which is very disappointing, with blood alcohol levels over .15 and over .2, but the majority were lower level readings.
“We don’t condone any level. The message there is if you plan to drink, plan ahead and don’t drive. Organise an alternative means of transport.”
Statewide, 23 people lost their lives, with six fatalities occurring on country roads. He said tragically two of those fatalities occurred in the south-west during the period.
He said they would continue to focus on traffic and road policing over the holidays “to ensure the roads were as safe as possible for locals and those visiting the region”.
Despite the infringements, police were pleased with south-west motorists’ behaviour during the operation, he said.
Statewide there were 31,000 infringements including 305 impoundments, 3271 unregistered vehicles, 1995 mobile phone offences, 1149 seatbelt and 10,595 speeding offences, 2355 unlicensed and disqualified drivers, 784 drug drivers and 1113 drink drivers.