Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Fatal crashes a concern for regional police

Speed, distraction and alcohol the three main factors in car crashes according to police.

KATHLEEN TONINI November 14, 2012 4:32am

Campaspe police service area Inspector Martin Dorman (left) and Acting Sergeant and Campaspe Highway Patrol Kris Sutton would like to see a decrease in the number of deaths on district roads.

Nine people died on the road in Campaspe last year, mostly in 100km zones.

Campaspe police service area Inspector Martin Dorman said between October 2010 an September 2011 there were two fatal car crashes.

But between October 11 and September this year the number of fatalities more than quadrupled, to nine.

Insp. Dorman said eight of the nine incidents happened in 100km zones and six involved a car running off the road and hitting a fixed object in a 100km zone.

Inps. Dorman said there had also been a 50 per cent rise in serious injuries during the same period.

The nine fatal incidents included when Angelique Kolenaty was hit and killed by a train on Ogilvie Ave in June and the death of a 77-year-old cyclist who came off his bike in Kyabram.

‘‘Even if you take those two out that aren’t (by) motor car, seven is still unacceptable,’’ Insp. Dorman said.

He said speed, distraction and alcohol were the three main factors in car crashes and local police were aiming to cap the rise in fatal road crashes.

‘‘We don’t need any more fatals,’’ he said.

‘‘Between now and January 6 there is an expectation that most cars in the area will be pulled up once or more for preliminary breath-testing and all our police cars will be basically booze buses.’’

Insp Dorman said road safety was an annual focus, especially because of the number of people visiting the area during the holiday period.

‘‘With the amount of distractions these days with mobile phones, all the modern gadgets that are in modern cars...alcohol can’t play a factor in distractions.’’

A number of national and Victoria Police operations will be in force over the coming weeks, including Operation Raid which focuses on drink and drug driving, Operation Break-up, Operation Crossroads and Operation Freshstart.

‘‘At this time of the year, we tend to narrow our focus to eliminate that harm to individuals,’’ Insp. Dorman said.

‘‘With policing and enforcement, you hope to change people’s outlook and what they’re doing behind the wheel and ultimately it’s about changing the culture of, as a state, how we drive our motor cars.’’

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