Police urge Victorians to be roadwise this festive season


Yarra Ranges police have launched their biggest road policing operation of the year, spanning 24 days.

With the Victorian road toll currently sitting at 252, the state-wide road policing operation dubbed ‘Operation Roadwise’ will focus on the biggest contributors to road trauma: speed, distraction, fatigue, impaired driving and seat belt non-compliance.

Since the start of the year, 253 people have lost their lives on our roads – 52 more than the same time last year.

Yarra Ranges Highway Patrol Sergeant Neil Campbell said police would be out in force across the region during the Christmas and New Year holiday period to not only detect offences but to provide a highly visible active police presence to reinforce positive driving behaviours and lessen the incidence of road trauma.

“We’re concentrating on everything. We’ll be out and looking at drink driving, drug driving, a lot of the distraction offences, mobile phone large groups in cars, seatbelt and all safety related offences,” Sgt Campbell said.

Sgt Campbell said it had been a horror year on Victorian roads, so police were focusing their efforts on these aforementioned major causes of collisions – fatigue, distraction, impairment and speed – throughout the operation.

“Every year it’s getting worse and worse, that’s in line with the road toll,” he said.

“We’re heading into the months when we get a lot more traffic through the road in Yarra Ranges, particularly motorcycles up around Reefton and the black spur.”

“Fatigue is a big issue, so plan your trip, make sure you get plenty of rest prior to travelling, and if it’s going to be a long trip ensure there’s several drivers and split the driving up among yourself.“Most of all, when you’re travelling put your mobile phones away!”

With more more motorists on roads as people travel interstate with family and friends, he said police were urging everybody to plan their journeys, allow extra time due to increased traffic, plan rest periods for longer drives, limit driving at times they would normally be asleep and to check vehicles – particularly tyres and brakes – before driving long distances.

Sgt Campbell reiterated that this Christmas police units will be doing everything they can to keep motorists safe and wish everyone a safe Christmas.

“All our road policing units are part of the local community and when there’s trauma on the road it affects us just the same as it affects local members of the community.”

“We want everyone to get home safe for Christmas. We have family and friends as well and we feel the pain of the trauma on the road just as much as everybody else on the community.”

During last year’s Operation Roadwise, police detected a total of 33,829 traffic offences, including 12,050 speeding offences, 1883 mobile phone offences, 892 drink drive offences and 920 drug drive offences.

The state highway patrol will assist police with the local operations, while there will also be an increase in roadside breath and drug testing.

Operation Roadwise was launched on Friday 13 December 2019 and runs until Sunday 5 January 2020 with all available police resources out in force.