Victoria Police are continuing their bid to turn around “a shocking start” to the year on the roads following their state-wide Operation Arid enforcement campaign held during the Labour Day long weekend.
Operation Arid saw police targeting high-risk driving behaviour and non-compliance in an effort to reduce road trauma.
Victoria recorded 68 lives lost in the first 66 days of the year – 18 more than at the same time last year and a 45 per cent increase on the five-year average.
Police are especially concerned about a significant spike in lives lost on rural roads this year with 42 deaths since January – a 57 per cent increase on the five-year average.
Intelligence shows more than half of this year’s fatalities resulted from single-vehicle collisions, with two-thirds occurring on rural roads and 80 per cent of those involving vehicles leaving the road and colliding with a roadside object – predominately trees.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Road Policing, Glenn Weir, said, “it’s been a shocking start to the year on our roads – particularly on our rural roads.
“However a lot of the trauma we’re experiencing, particularly those single-vehicle fatal collisions, is tragically avoidable.
“It’s up to all of us to turn this around and, while police will be out enforcing at every opportunity, we cannot achieve this alone,” he said.
“We need everyone to play their part and that means getting back to basics behind the wheel – slow down, put down the mobile phone, and pay attention to road signs, other road users and surroundings.
“March is historically a high-risk month for road trauma, and we cannot afford complacency on our roads,” Assistant Commissioner Weir said. “Complacency is the true contributor to road trauma.”