Police on the lookout

Joel Peterson | Bendigo Weekly | 21-Dec-2017

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Senior Constable Andrews, Constable McAnulty and Senior Sergeant Books.
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NO matter the day or the time, drivers doing the wrong thing on central Victorian roads over the holiday period will be caught, according to police.

Victoria Police will zero in on driver behaviour over the Christmas and new year period in a bid to save lives during a traditionally hectic period on Victorian roads.

The state-wide Operation Roadwise began on Friday and continues through until January 7, with a focus on improving driver behaviour and reducing road trauma.

Police in Bendigo have been out at all hours conducting breath tests and checking vehicle speeds and will continue to do so over the 24 days the operation runs for.

Bendigo Highway Patrol Senior Sergeant Ian Brooks said speed, drink and drug driving will be the main targets of the focus in the early stages.

Over Christmas and the new year police will encourage drivers to monitor fatigue levels as they embark on long trips.

“This isn’t just highway patrol, but all police units in between jobs, will be carrying out these checks,” he said.

“If you are doing the wrong thing you will be caught and you will only have yourself to blame.”

Victoria Police’s Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryers said road users need to think about the consequences of their actions.

He said last year with the same operation 14 people died in 24 days. Another 233 were seriously injured.

Bendigo is not listed by Victoria Police as a high-priority area, but Snr Sgt Brooks said the operation would be no less focussed locally.

“We’ll have no less monitoring than anywhere else in the state. We’ll still have state highway patrol coming from Melbourne and booze buses coming into our area,” he said.

“We haven’t been listed as high priority, but that doesn’t mean we’ll do this in a half measure.

“It isn’t just in daylight hours. This operation will be running around the clock.”

Snr Sgt Brooks said the main causes of fatalities and serious injuries will be targeted, including excessive speed, mobile phone use and driver distraction, seatbelts, fatigue and drink and drug drivers.

But it isn’t just police that the responsibility lies with, the whole community has a role to play in getting friends and family home safely.

“There is no tolerance. There is no excuse for it and I have no sympathy for anyone who is caught drink driving at any hour of the day,” he said.

“This operation is focussed purely on getting people to their destination and home again safely.

“The last thing we want to do is to go and knock on someone’s door and tell them they’re going to have a spare seat at the Christmas table.

“But it’s not just us, it’s not just the police. It’s time for the community to stand up and say ‘we’re going to take some responsibility for the trauma that’s on our roads’ and I know a lot of community members have been doing that.

“A majority of people are trying their hardest to obey the road rules, but there are still people that think it won’t happen to them. They’re the ones we’re going to get off the roads.”

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