Central Victorian police officers will be out in force from Thursday as part of a two-and-a-half week operation that aims to prevent road trauma and dangerous driving.
Operation Saturn will take place in regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne from Thursday, October 22 to Sunday November 8.
Bendigo Highway Patrol Senior Sergeant Ian Brooks said police units will have a significant road presence during the next fortnight.
"Just because we have police units that may or may not be tied up at road blocks around metropolitan Melbourne doesn't mean there won't be a police presence on the roads," Senior Sergeant Brooks said.
"Don't think we're busy and you'll get away with it, because you won't."
Speeding, drink and drug driving, inattention, distraction and fatigue are points of emphasis throughout the operation.
"We have been through a lot this year and we don't need to go through road trauma as well," Senior Sergeant Brooks said.
"Obey the speed limits, take your time when you are driving, don't drink or take drugs and drive your car and drive to the conditions."
Grand Final weekend and the Spring Racing Carnival have historically led to more drink and drug driving, Senior Sergeant Brooks said.
"It is disappointing that we know it's going to happen," he said.
"By all means go out and celebrate your horse getting across the line and your footy team getting a win, but do it responsibly.
"There are plenty of ways you can move around in central Victoria and taxis in particular would appreciate the support, so use them."
Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Libby Murphy said Victorians are facing two different but equally dangerous settings on metro and regional roads.
"We expect that road trauma will increase as more people get back on our roads," Assistant Commissioner Murphy said.
"Operation Saturn comes at a critical time for the Victorian community, with easing of some restrictions coinciding with two long weekends."
According to data from the Transport Accident Commission, 174 lives have been lost on Victoria's roads in 2020, about 20 per cent fewer than this time last year.
Of those fatalities, 101 lives have been lost in regional Victoria.
Regional police will be active in and around their communities to prevent serious collisions and trauma.
"We know regional motorists and their passengers are over-represented in serious collisions," Assistant Commissioner Murphy said.
"Despite making up less than a third of the state's population, more than half of lives lost on Victoria's roads are in regional areas."
During the operation, police will be conducting breath tests and drug tests.
"I want to make it clear that Victoria Police is still conducting breath tests and drug tests," Assistant Commissioner Murphy said.
"We know that the number of drink and drug drivers typically increases on Grand Final weekend and during the Melbourne Cup Carnival."
Senior Sergeant Brooks' message is a simple one.
"Be safe and be patient," he said.
"The road doesn't get any shorter, you still have to travel the same distance.
"If you arrive a couple of minutes later, at least you arrive safely."