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08 January 2020
By LOTTE REITER
Wimmera police are reminding drivers to remain vigilant across the remainder of the summer holiday period despite the conclusion of a statewide road-safety operation.
Operation Roadside, which targeted poor driving behaviours to help reduce the incidence and severity of road trauma during the Christmas holiday period, ended on Sunday after about three weeks.
Senior Sergeant Brendan Broadbent of Horsham said the operation was successful, with zero fatal collisions, owing to patient road-users, a high level of police commitment and road-side speed cameras.
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He said despite the operation’s end, people would continue to see police enforcing a stern approach to traffic offenders, particularly in the lead-up to the Australia Day long weekend later this month.
“Operation Roadwise finished on Sunday, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be focusing on poor driving behaviours and excessive speed,” he said.
“We are currently planning and preparing for Operation Amity across the Australia Day weekend.
“It’s important that people who are planning to celebrate the holiday and drink alcohol ensure that they have a plan, a designated driver and book a taxi if they need to.”
Sen Sgt Broadbent said it was especially important that drivers stop and think about their safety, passengers, other road users and the journey ahead before starting their vehicle.
“The messaging at the moment is really targeted on the fact that this is a road-using community and people should be thinking about their safety before they even start the car,” he said.
“We often just get in the car and don’t think about it. But if people can adopt mindfulness and put more thought into their safety, and not just the people in the car but also the cars around them, that’s a big factor in reducing road toll.”
Member for Western Victoria and Minister for Roads, Road Safety and the Transport Accident Commission, TAC, Jaala Pulford joined Victoria Police, TAC and newly created Road Safety Victoria representatives to reflect on the 2019 road toll and urge people to take extra care when driving.
She said last year 263 Victorians died on the road – the state’s worst loss in three years – with fatal crashes increasing across every road-user group including drivers, passengers, pedestrians and motorcyclists.
She said speeding, drink and drug driving, distraction, fatigue and seatbelt offences were all common contributing factors.
Snr Sgt Broadbent said the Wimmera’s road toll was 11 deaths in 2019, following a fatal hit-and-run collision in Horsham in December which killed a 24-year-old cyclist.
He said this was almost double the amount of fatal collisions in 2018.
He said while police were unable to identify any consistencies in the accidents, varying factors in each case such as drink driving, fatigue or driver distractions were present when collisions occurred.
“We run analyses on how and when these fatalities occur and look into each case, but there are no real consistencies that we’ve identified,” he said.
“What it comes down to is that people’s driving behaviour needs to be moderated.”
Regional Roads Victoria chief officer Paul Northey said preparation was key when travelling on the roads this summer to ensure everyone could arrive at their destination safely.
“There are quick and easy things we can all do to protect ourselves and our loved ones as we travel to meet family or enjoy a summer break,” he said.
“Road safety is a shared responsibility so prepare ahead and when you’re on the road obey the speed limit, drive to the conditions and put your mobile phone away.”
Mr Northey said people could access information including safe travel tips, fines and penalties at www.vicroads.vic.gov.au and keep updated with statewide traffic information on the VicTraffic app.
The entire January 8, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!