Eight people tested positive for drink or drug driving in Bendigo during a statewide road operation over the weekend.
Five people tested positive during roadside drug tests and three for alcohol, the Bendigo Highway Patrol's Geoff Annand said.
"Considering the fact we made no bones that we would be targeting drivers over that four-day period, to still have eight people prepared to take risks with drugs and alcohol beggars belief," he said.
Almost half of central Victoria's 19 drink drivers were caught around Bendigo, Sergeant Annand said.
The operation ran from Thursday to Sunday in response to significant numbers of people killed on the state's roads in 2019, which by the end of the weekend sat at 196 compared to 137 at the same time in 2018.
Five Victorians lost their lives over the weekend, including one person in Gisborne.
It was a "heartbreaking" road toll, Victoria Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Tim Hansen said.
"There are five families now living through the horror and heartache that comes with road trauma and are no longer able to celebrate birthdays, family occasions or Christmas with their loved ones," he said.
"This is the worst possible reminder of how delicate life can be and the need for everyone to look out for each other and be mindful of their actions on the roads."
A total of 8677 traffic offences were detected statewide during the four day police operation, with police nabbing 157 drink drivers.
Police found 213 drivers who tested positive road side for drugs.
There were also a total of 255 motorcyclist offences.
Other general offences detected included:
- 196 disqualified/suspended drivers
- 321 unlicensed drivers
- 800 unregistered vehicles
- 3325 speeding offences
- 615 mobile phone offences
- 481 disobey signs/signals
- 124 vehicle impounds
- 208 seatbelt offences
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