A dedicated operation targeting dangerous driving behaviours in the Bendigo area has stemmed a rise in crashes resulting in deaths and serious injury.
Operation ELIAS began in the Bendigo police service area in early December and will run for three months, into March.
The operation was established after the number of fatal crashes in the area rose by 200 per cent in the year to November 2020 from the previous year, and the number of crashes resulting in serious injury increased by 400 per cent in the same period.
Bendigo station commander, Acting Senior Sergeant Tony Kekich, said officers from Bendigo, Heathcote, Eaglehawk, Goornong, Axedale, and Raywood were involved in the operation.
Senior Sergeant Kekich said the officers were patrolling roads in and around each of the towns - including the back roads, where instances of high-risk driving were known to occur.
He said police were targeting this high-risk driving, as well as alcohol and drug-driving offences, speeding, and distraction offences.
To date, the operation appears to be achieving its goal.
In the first month of the operation, Senior Sergeant Kekich said, the number of serious injury crashes in the area had dropped 44.4 per cent on the previous month, and there had been no fatalities.
He said it was hoped that the operation, which would provide a highly visible police presence on the area's roads, would reduce instances of trauma and make the roads safer.
Drivers continued to behave dangerously on the roads despite the warnings, he believed, because the attitude that something bad would not happen to them persisted.
"As a community, we all have a responsibility to each other to have safety at the front of the mind when behind the wheel of a vehicle," Senior Sergeant Kekich said.
Across the wider central Victorian region - including Greater Bendigo, Campaspe, Loddon, Central Goldfields, Mount Alexander, Macedon Ranges, Buloke and Gannawarra shires - 27 people lost their lives in 2020, two fewer than the previous year.