BENDIGO Police are detecting more drug drivers as a massive road safety operation rolls into the final weekend before Christmas.
It is only a slight rise, the Bendigo Highway Patrol’s Ian Brooks said, but it is enough to trigger even more drug tests in the region during at a time extra roadside saliva samples were already being taken.
The rise in drug offences is in line with an increase police are seeing across Victoria.
Drink driving is slightly down on last year, though Bendigo police have had a number of offenders in the past few weeks.
“These are not people being picked up who are a little bit over the limit,” Senior Sergeant Brooks said.
“We are picking up some fairly high readings from people who are ignoring the rules, ignoring the messaging and saying ‘yeah, well I don’t care’.”
Senior Sergeant Brooks was past feeling disappointed that people flouted drink driving laws despite years of awareness campaigns.
“Obviously the education part of it is not working so we are going to use all the enforcement tools and laws we can,” he said.
“If we catch people who are drink driving we will be taking their cars off of them, we will be making sure they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
And don’t bother with excuses, Senior Sergeant Brooks said.
“I’ve heard lots. None of them have been valid … we are not interested in anybody’s sob stories about why they might have had one too many to drink,” he said.
“You had the choice of not driving. You made the choice, not me.”
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Major police operations targeting drink and drunk driving, speeding, distractions and other road offences will continue in a bid to avoid the kind of trauma seen on roads in previous years.
So far, the efforts are working.
While there have been crashes, including a fatal one earlier this week in Flora Hill, Senior Sergeant Brooks said there had been a downward trend in the number of serious road injuries and deaths in the latter half of 2018.
“We will have a very high, visible presence all over central Victoria for, well, not just the next two weeks, but right through to the end of January,” Senior Sergeant Brooks said.
On top of Bendigo police, extra Highway Patrol officers, patrol vehicles and booze buses are circulating into the region.
Booze buses will be brought into Bendigo four times by New Year’s eve alone.
“We (police) are part of the community. We want it to be safe. We are doing our bit. The rest of it comes back to everyone else,” Senior Sergeant Brooks said.
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