Drivers caught in long weekend police operation

Police have described the results of an Australia Day long weekend operation as disappointing after almost 200 offences were detected in central Victoria.

The four-day Operation Amity started last Thursday and focused on major risk factors: speed, fatigue, seatbelt compliance, distraction, and drink and drug driving.

Senior Sergeant Ian Brooks, from Bendigo Highway Patrol, said police officers across the division covering central Victoria put in more than 1000 hours dedicated to the operation and carried out in excess of 3500 breath tests.

Senior Sergeant Brooks said the number of offences detected in the policing division was not any higher than expected, but it remained disappointing and indicated safe driving messages were simply not getting through to road users.

He was thankful there were no road deaths in the region over the four days.

However, there were six crashes resulting in serious injury.

“Every one of those could have been avoided if someone did the right thing, or something better,” Senior Sergeant Brooks said.

He said responsibility for driver behaviour did not lie with police: it was not an enforcement issue, but rather, people needed to do the right thing in the first place.

Tragically, three people did lose their lives in crashes elsewhere in Victoria during the operation.

Across the state, 254 drink-drivers were caught from more than 106,040 tests, and one in every 10 drivers drug-tested returned a positive reading.

There were also 166 people caught driving while disqualified or suspended, 224 unlicensed drivers, 569 unregistered vehicles, 2396 speeding offences, 239 mobile phone offences, 421 offences for disobeying a signal or sign, and 206 seat belt offences.

Road Policing Command Acting Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir said the results concerned police.

“Over the long weekend we saw far too many people making dangerous and illegal choices by getting behind the wheel when they were either drug or alcohol affected,” he said.