Let’s all help in road safety drive

By Liz Mellino

Whenever a long weekend rolls around so too does another Victoriawide police operation.

While they have a different name each time, including Operation Regal, Nexus or Roadwise, they all carry the same aim: to make our roads a safer place.

Operation Regal, the Queen’s Birthday long weekend operation, start at 12.01am on Friday and ran until 11.59pm yesterday.

Focusing on impaired driving, increased traffic, road trauma, distraction, fatigue and speeding motorists, hundreds of extra police were patrolling our roads to keep drivers and their passengers safe.

Local police received assistance from Melbourne, with extra resources deployed to the Goulburn Valley to target country roads across the weekend.

According to statistics, country road users are more likely to be killed or seriously injured on a country road compared to a metropolitan area, with country Victorians travelling more kilometres each year and at a higher speed than city drivers.

I can only imagine the concerns police have when another long weekend starts.

Long weekends bring increased traffic, including many caravans and vehicles towing trailers, all trying to get to their destination in time to enjoy a weekend away.

I am sure police get sick of pulling up drivers doing the wrong thing, whether it be speeding, using a mobile phone or engaging in other conduct that puts themselves and other road users at risk.

On Sunday afternoon, a number of drivers had already had their cars impounded across the state for excessive speeding and drink driving or drug driving.

Bellarine police detected a car travelling at 150km/h in an 80km/h zone, while Macedon Ranges Highway Patrol detected a car travelling at 165km/h on the Calder Fwy and another travelling at 151km/h.

Ballart Highway Patrol had three drivers within 30 minutes who failed roadside drug tests, while in Wangaratta, an unlicensed driver, 22, was stopped driving under the influence of drugs and driving a vehicle with false plates.

While these are just a small snapshot of the offences police detected across the long weekend, the numbers still shock me.

It is worrying that people can put their lives and the lives of other drivers at risk on our roads everyday.

There is no need to speed, especially at excessive amounts, and it is frightening to think that every time you are on the road your safety lies in the hands of other drivers.

While police continue to work towards zero deaths on our roads, the statistics are already looking grim in the Goulburn Valley.

Six people have been killed on local roads so far this year, which is more than the total number of lives lost for the entirety of last year.

Its a frightening statistic and one which we can only imagine will rise as the year continues.

While we can only account for our own actions when out on the road, we should all be thinking twice about what we do when behind the wheel.

Don’t pick up your phone, take breaks when needed, don’t speed and never get behind the wheel if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

While they are simple rules we all know, this might just be the reminder needed to prevent a serious accident on our roads.

Liz Mellino is a journalist at The News.