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Heavy duty police sting

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December 04, 2017

On the beat: Leading Senior Constable Robert Pickering and Senior Constable Kellie Siakew on patrol in Shepparton as part of Operation Austrans.

A multi-national operation focusing on the heavy vehicle transport sector ran last week in Australia and New Zealand — with a national day of drug testing.

Extra police resources have been in Shepparton and across the Goulburn Valley since Monday, for the 13-day Operation Austrans, which will run up until Sunday.

Victoria Police’s Heavy Vehicle Unit Acting Sergeant Kellie Siakew said behaviour of drivers across the Goulburn Valley had been good.

‘‘We haven’t had any drug drivers, which is pleasing because it is a statewide operation,’’ she said.

‘‘Maintenance continues to be a huge issue, the low level of maintenance, especially during harvest time when machinery only comes out once or twice a year.’’

Sgt Siakew said the operation — targeting drink and drug driving, speed, general traffic offences, fatigue, compliance and behaviour — focused predominantly on vehicles more than 4.5tonne.

‘‘If there is farm machinery driving on public roads, we can have a look at that,’’ she said.

‘‘We were in Katamatite on Wednesday and have been to Congupna, Yarrawonga, Broadford and everything in between.’’

Heavy vehicles continue to be over-represented in road trauma, despite efforts to improve road safety standards in the transport sector.

‘‘Comprising less than four per cent of the national road fleet, heavy vehicles are involved in around 17 per cent of road fatalities nationally,’’ Road Policing Operations Superintendent John Fitzpatrick said.

Operation Austrans has been organised annually across Australia and New Zealand since 1989.

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