Three deaths, 12 cars impounded in Bendigo during Victoria Police's Operation Roadwise

CRACKDOWN: Police recorded just over 6000 patrol hours in the wider region during Operation Roadwise Picture: DARREN HOWE
CRACKDOWN: Police recorded just over 6000 patrol hours in the wider region during Operation Roadwise Picture: DARREN HOWE

Bendigo police are dismayed with some motorists’ behaviour following a festive period crackdown, which was tinged with tragedy as three people lost their lives. 

Victoria Police’s Operation Roadwise recorded 386 driving offences in the Bendigo policing region – 164 of which were speeding drivers, with a further 53 motorists driving unregistered vehicles. 

Twelve vehicles were taken off Bendigo roads for traffic-related offences during the 24-day operation, meaning one car was impounded, on average, every other day in the region. 

Bendigo Highway Patrol Acting Sergeant Lee Clayton said police recorded 1113 offences across the broader region – including Kyneton, Campaspe, Goldfields and Bendigo – 59 of which were for impaired driving. 

“It’s pretty disappointing. People just believe that it’s not going to happen to them,” he said.

“It places pressure on us (police) because our resources are diverted to take care of these incidents, which can have police tied up for hours, sometimes an entire day.”

On the number of cars impounded in Bendigo, Acting Sergeant Clayton said it reflected the severity of offences police were detecting.

During the statewide operation, which ran from December 15 to January 7, 23 people lost their lives.

Six of those were in the first week of 2018, and five of those six on country roads.

Sadly, three fatalities occurred in Bendigo and the wider region during the same period. 

Aspiring young cyclist Jason Lowndes died after being hit by a car in Mandurang on December 22, while a 71-year-old Queensland man died in hospital last week following a two-car collision in Barnadown on December 21.  

Meanwhile, one person died and others were injured over the weekend when a car crashed into a power pole in Castlemaine.

Acting Sergeant Clayton offered a cautionary message to drivers: “It will happen to you or you will get caught - it's just a matter of time before you end up being involved in a serious collision or worse.” 

Elsewhere, in the Campaspe region, of the 241 recorded offences; 137 were for speeding, 20 were unregistered drivers and four were for using a mobile phone.

Similarly in the Goldfields, speeding (210) made up the majority of offences, while drug (2) and drink (10) driving were smaller contributors to the total of 299.

Across Victoria, 31,293 offences were detected during the operation, including; 

  • 305 impoundments
  • 3271 unregistered vehicles
  • 1995 mobile phone offences
  • 1149 seatbelt offences
  • 1851 disobey traffic controls (e.g. signs/signals)
  • 10,595 speeding offences
  • 1504 unlicensed drivers
  • 851 disqualified drivers
  • 784 drug drivers
  • 1113 drink drivers
  • 417 cyclist offences