A cyclist died and more than 600 traffic offences were recorded in the south-west during a road safety operation held over the festive season.
Operation Roadwise commenced on December 14 and ran through to January 6.
There were 12 lives lost on Victoria’s roads over 24 days, including a 43-year-old Warrnambool cyclist who died in hospital following a collision with a car on Morris Road on Christmas Eve.
A 51-year-old Koroit woman died in a single vehicle collision north-west of Ballarat that same night.
Western region division two road safety manager Acting Senior Sergeant David Walkley said road trauma had a ripple effect on every level of the community.
“The impact ranges from significant rehabilitation and infrastructure costs, to the psychological effects it has on not only those involved, but their families and the emergency services that respond to the scene,” he said.
Operation Roadwise saw 311 traffic offences detected in the Warrnambool police service area and 297 in the Southern Grampians.
Of those offences, there were 443 drivers detected speeding, 48 driving unregistered vehicles, 19 drug drivers, 18 not wearing seat belts and nine drink drivers.
Acting Senior Sergeant Walkley said it was disappointing to see drug impaired and speeding drivers well represented in the statistics.
“Operation Roadwise targeted speed, impairment and safety non-compliance offences – and although you would expect them to be higher as a result of that, it is always disappointing to see people engaging in high risk behaviours like speeding, as it’s a major contributor to serious road collisions,” he said.
Warrnambool highway patrol Senior Constable Amy Morel said although the number of speeding drivers was high, they were all in the “low to medium-speed categories”.
“We didn’t record any drivers that were caught speeding excessively high,” she said.
“Most were only a bit over, which although still dangerous, is positive. People seem to be slowing down.”
Acting Senior Sergeant Walkley said police would still be out in full force, despite the conclusion of the operation.
“We’ll be out every day focusing on the major contributors to road accidents. We plead for people to obey the road rules; take regular breaks, plan their journey and don’t put other people’s lives at risk.
“And in terms of drug driving, we have had a significant increase in the allocation of preliminary oral fluid test devices so we will be testing more drivers, more often.”
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