BENDIGO police detected more drug drivers than alcohol offenders on the roads over Christmas and the new year, which matched a trend being felt across Victoria.
Police in Bendigo found 14 drug drivers during Operation Roadwise, a 24 day statewide operation that ended last weekend. They found nine drunk drivers.
It was a similar situation in the Goldfields police service area, which encompasses Boort, Bridgewater, Castlemaine and Dunnolly. There, five drug drivers and no drink drivers found.
The proportion of drink and drivers varied in other parts of central Victoria. In the Campaspe region around Echuca there were five drink and four drug drivers; in the Macedon Ranges eight drink and five drug drivers; and Swan Hill nine drink and no drug drivers.
Across the state there were 920 drug driver offences recorded, 28 more than for alcohol related issues.
Road policing command Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane said police had noticed the trend over the past 10 years.
A rise in drug driving came at the same time TAC campaigns, police work and community attitudes had driven down drinking offences, he said.
One offence was detected every minute of Operation Roadwise, which focused on speed, impaired driving, distraction, fatigue, seat belt non-compliance and other dangerous behaviours.
The high number of people behaving dangerously on the roads was concerning, Assistant Commissioner Leane said.
“Over the 24 days of Roadwise, we detected 12,050 people speeding, thereby placing themselves and others on the roads in danger,” he said.
Of those offences, 149 of those were in the Bendigo area, 140 in the Goldfields, 80 in Campaspe, 177 in Macedon Ranges and 201 around the Swan Hill region.
Twelve lives were lost on the roads, a decrease from 25 in the same period last year.
Assistant Commissioner Leane said police were not celebrating that reduction or the record low 2018 road toll of 214.
“Sadly, my condolences go out. We must think about those 214 people and their partners, families and friends,” he said.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.