As the state gradually opens up and COVID restrictions are being eased across Victoria, travel by road will increase. Road users are reminded that as we come out of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions care should be taken not to bring back bad habits while driving.
Over the Melbourne Cup long weekend, Victoria Police will be out in force conducting Operation Furlong which runs from Friday, October 29 to Tuesday, November 2.
Road Policing Advisor, Sergeant Marty Wallace, says Operation Furlong will be conducted throughout Victoria by all operational police in all police areas during the five days, using all available personnel from local highway patrol units, general duties police and other police units.
Sergeant Wallace says the Melbourne Cup long weekend provides an opportunity for families to free themselves from their usual commitments and it is anticipated that large numbers of people will use Victorian roads, often driving long distances in unfamiliar driving conditions he says. The times of highest risk are when people are leaving for holiday destinations and returning home.
Police will be targeting the main causes of fatalities and serious injuries in crashes which are:
– Excessive speed;
– Driver distraction;
– Restraint non-compliance;
– Fatigue; and
-Impaired driving (alcohol and/or drug)
Motorists are requested to stay within the speed limit, don’t drink alcohol or take drugs and drive, leave your mobile phone out of reach, wear your seatbelt/child restraints and make sure you are well rested. Speed cameras will be rostered in known high collision locations.
“Fatigue is one of the major causes of loss of lives on Victorian roads,” Sergeant Wallace says.
“Drivers are requested to plan their trip, be patient and ensure that you take at least a 15 minutes break at least every two hours and don’t drive if you are tired.”
Road trauma isn’t just about the lives that are lost – it’s about the enormous impact on the community, from the family members, to the emergency services workers who have to deal with these tragedies on a daily basis, to the police who have to deliver the devastating news to loved ones.
Drivers planning to travel during this period can expect to see an increase in vehicles travelling on our major freeways and highways throughout the state.
RoadSafe Westgate Community Road Safety Council chairman Jim Giddings says it has been demonstrated time after time that speed is a contributing factor in most road crashes.
“Stay within the speed limit and drive to suit the conditions you face,” he says.
Mr Giddings says the work of his group along with initiatives like the Operation Furlong Campaign for the Melbourne Cup long weekend would hopefully reduce the number of serious road crashes on our roads. He asked the community to report speeding drivers to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.