Police set to target sleepy road users

POLICE will target fatigue, speed, and intoxicated driving this weekend.

Officers from the State Highway Patrol and local police will check motorists, with roads tipped to be busy with people returning from holidays.

Acting Inspector Paul Gardiner said there had been few major incidents on local roads during the festive period.

“Across central Victoria, I’d say we’re happy,” he said.

“We’ve had no-one die on roads.

“That said, we’ve had a number of serious injury collisions.

“Those injuries can be life changing for those people and their families.

“While we’ve been fortunate in central Victoria that no-one has died on our roads, there are still people who are being significantly affected by road trauma.”

Operation Fresh Start will have a particular focus on fatigued drivers.

Police will set up breath testing sites and conduct patrols of licensed venues.

“Research does indicate that people who are fatigued can have fairly similar symptoms to people affected by alcohol,” acting Inspector Gardiner said.

“We encourage drivers to stop and rest for 15 minutes every two hours.

“And people need to make sure they’re well-rested before going on any trips.

“We’re going to be undertaking speed checks and drug and alcohol tests of people during the operation.”

Acting Inspector Gardiner said police operations played an important role in reducing the road toll.

There were five road fatalities across the state between December 23 and January 2, down from nine deaths over the previous Christmas period.

The police operation will run until January 6.

“The (operations) are incredibly important,” acting Inspector Gardiner said.

“It’s a very high risk time.

“We want to create an environment where police are very visible.

“There are a lot of people who have time off work and there are a lot more vehicles on the road.

“I think there are also more distractions potentially going through people’s minds.

“There’s a real misconception that most crashes occur during wet and cold weather, but we still have significant amounts that occur during summer.” 

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