• Minister for Police and Emergency services reminds Victorians to be safe on the roads this long weekend
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells has today urged Victorians to slow down and avoid tragedy on the roads this Australia Day long weekend.
Mr Wells was joined by Victoria Police and TAC at Sandown Racetrack to launch Operation Amity, a four-day statewide blitz to promote road safety during the Australia Day long weekend.
The operation, which begins tomorrow and will run until Monday 27 January, will see local police, Highway Patrol and road policing specialists deployed to known holiday hot spots to target the five fatal behaviours – speed, impairment, distraction, fatigue and seatbelt offences – known to cause road trauma.
“Speed directly contributes to at least 30 per cent of deaths on Victoria’s roads each year and police enforcement through operations such as Operation Amity is a key factor in getting drivers to accept responsibility and reduce their speed,” Mr Wells said.
Operation Amity will particularly focus on low-level speeding, which is a significant contributor to road trauma.
“There is a perception in the community that travelling a little bit over the speed limit is ok and we need to change that mind set to save lives,” Mr Wells said.
“Operation Amity sends a clear message to drivers that even at low levels, speeding will not be tolerated.”
Mr Wells said despite the low road toll in 2013, this year is off to a horror start with 17 deaths recorded since 1 January, Mr Wells said.
“Tragically, Victoria Police’s investigations into these fatalities have identified speed as a major factor in these collisions,” Mr Wells said.
“I encourage all drivers to plan their journey, obey the road rules and reduce the likelihood of having an accident.
“We know that if all drivers reduced their average speed by one km/h, it would mean a five per cent reduction in road trauma, or fifteen lives saved, each year.”
Between 2009-2013 there were 14 fatalities and 352 serious injury collisions during the Australia Day weekend in Victoria and police are hoping this year won’t be marred by tragedy.
“The Australia Day long weekend is one of the busiest times on the state’s roads and sadly, holiday periods are traditionally a time when motorists and their passengers are at a greater risk,” Mr Wells said.
Acting Minister for Roads David Hodgett said the Victoria Coalition Government encouraged drivers to use speed alert technology to help them monitor their speeds.
“Most GPS units these days have a speed alert function and I encourage everyone to switch it on”, Mr Hodgett said.
“VicRoads’ research of motorists with a history of speeding found that using a GPS with speed alert technology resulted in a significant reduction in their speeding behaviour. The amount of time they spent speeding was reduced by 47%.
“All drivers should consider installing a device like a GPS with speed alert function to remove any excuse for speeding, help them become safer drivers and reduce the road toll.”
Mr Wells said drink driving and hoon drivers were now perceived as unacceptable in the community.
“The community now need to recognise that speeding, even at low levels is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.” Mr Wells said.