Greater Shepparton police are going on a blitz this festive season to remove drink and drug affected drivers from the region's roads.DARREN LINTON November 17, 2012 4:22am
With the road toll in Greater Shepparton already approaching a record high, police are committed to making a difference during a 52-day operation aimed at keeping people safe and alive through the festive season.
State-wide there will be four festive season operations which began yesterday. Operation RAID is aimed at detecting and removing all alcohol and drug impaired drivers from our roads.
Shepparton Highway Patrol’s Senior Sergeant Des Wright warned that mobile patrols in the region were participating in a trial of roadside drug testing.
‘‘Drink driving is a perennial problem and we will continue to focus on it, but more recently we have been able to identify a significant problem with illicit drug use,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve had a strike rate of one in 10.’’
Because of the higher cost of mobile drug-testing kits, police identify and target who is tested rather than randomly test every driver as they do with alcohol.
‘‘We have to be careful to target the right people and consequently we have a high strike rate,’’ he said.
Sen Sgt Wright said distractions and not observing basic road rules like wearing seat belts, giving way or speeding were a problem on the region’s roads.
So far this year 11 people have died on roads in the Greater Shepparton police district, as many as in any other year since Sen Sgt Wright started collating statistics.
‘‘It is probably the worst year on record since then for fatalities in Greater Shepparton and we still have the rest of November and all of December to go,’’ he said.
Road Policing Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill said an onslaught of road policing operations started in Victoria yesterday and police would saturate the state’s roads, targeting drink and drug driving, driver fatigue, distraction and speeding.
He urged drivers to leave their cars at home if they knew they were going to be drinking.
‘‘We know if we can deter people from taking the risks in the first place or alternatively get them off the road before the high traffic periods, we will reduce road trauma, which is what the operation is all about — saving lives,’’ he said.
Mr Hill said the festive season was all about spending time with friends and loved ones, not losing them on the roads.
‘‘This time of year is about going on holidays and to Christmas and work break-up parties, not funerals and hospital wards,’’ he said.
Shepparton Swans and Benalla both had altered coaching panels for the Goulburn Valley Football League grand final rematch on Saturday.
The Mulwala Lions had satisfying and hard fought win, in difficult conditions, against last year’s grand finalists at Lonsdale Reserve on Saturday.
The second annual Bonnie and Clyde Rods, Rats and Rides Festival fired up at Tatura Park at the weekend (April 11-12), drawing thousands of petrol heads and rockabilly music lovers to Tatura.
Anyone yet to experience the sport of croquet is welcome to come along to the Rich River club lawns on Sunday to try it out.
Lockington Vintage Tractor and Stationary Engine Rally is on for the 18th time this weekend and there is something for everyone.
Kyabram and District Sportstar of the Year nominations finalised
Three local clubs get together at Kings Park.
Tributes flow for Finley's inspiring mother, friend and farming advocate Jennifer Hawkins
A visit by Coliban Water to Heathcote last week provided residents with a chance to quiz staff about water and sewer services.
A new book, Men from the River Bends, honours Cobram-Barooga and district soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice after enlisting in World War 1.
Penalty goal spells heartbreak.
Widespread rain late last week and on Saturday put a smile on the faces of farmers preparing to sow crops or waiting for weeds to emerge on early-sown rye-grass.
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