Police are glad to have seen no deaths and few serious injury crashes on the Bendigo region's roads over the festive period, but remain concerned by the number of drivers affected by alcohol or drugs.
Officers in the Bendigo region detected 998 offences during the 20-day Operation Roadwise, 51 of which involved alcohol or drug-impaired driving.
Statewide, 463 people were caught drink-driving and 535 drivers had drugs in their system.
Bendigo Highway Patrol Senior Sergeant Ian Brooks said the number of drink and drug-driving offences in the region was higher than he ever wanted to see, although it was on par with previous years' figures.
Senior Sergeant Brooks said he thought the message about drink-driving would have gotten through to people by now.
However, the fact no one lost their lives on the region's roads and there were very few serious injury crashes was pleasing, he said.
This was a sign that the enforcement effort and visible police presence were working, Senior Sergeant Brooks said, and people were paying attention on the roads.
He said police could do all the enforcement they wanted, but it was wasted if they community did not play their part, too.
The failure of drivers to wear a seatbelt has worried police and road safety authorities recently.
Across the state during Operation Roadwise, police found almost 300 people in vehicles not wearing a seatbelt, close to half of which were in country areas.
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Senior Sergeant Brooks said the failure to wear a seatbelt had contributed to road deaths in the region in 2020.
For some, not wearing a seatbelt was a means of thumbing their nose at authority, he said; for others, it was part of intentional high-risk driving, along with other risky behaviours like speeding.
Senior Sergeant Brooks said some people placed too much reliance on other safety features in their car, or thought they were a good enough driver to not need a seatbelt.
"You may be a perfectly good driver, but what about the person coming the other way?" he said.
Police in the Bendigo region dedicated almost 2200 hours of patrolling to Operation Roadwise between December 18 and January 6.
During the same period they conducted about 6800 breath tests.
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