Watch out: Police aim to curb the road toll.

POLICE have urged road users to put safety first after a tragic start to 2019.

Since January 1, 22 lives have been lost on Victoria’s roads, compared to 16 at the same time last year.

The 2019 figure includes five lives lost during the four days of the Australia Day long weekend road policing operation.

Police detected more than 6500 traffic offences during Operation Amity, and Road Policing Command assistant commissioner Stephen Leane said it was disappointing to see so many road users putting themselves and others at risk.

“We all know that speed and impairment are among the biggest killers on our roads, so it’s astounding to see so many motorists exceeding the speed limit or driving after drinking or using drugs.

“Last year saw a record low number of lives lost in Victoria, with 214, but the tragic start to 2019 shows that we can’t afford to be complacent.

“Just this weekend, five families have been left devastated by the loss of a loved one, as have another 17 families since the start of the year.”

Operation Amity ran across the state from 12.01am, Friday, 25 January to 11.59pm Monday 28 January, with 206 drink drive offences, 165 drug drive offences, 159 disqualified/suspended drivers caught, 232 unlicensed drivers and 626 unregistered vehicles detected.

There were 2269 speeding offences, 261 drivers caught using their mobile phone and 96 vehicles impounded.