GET set for a strong and highly visible police presence involving local police officers and traffic management units patrolling our roads in force this Easter.
Foster police sergeant Neil Coates pressed this point as he urged drivers to take care.
“The Easter period is upon us, traditionally one of the worst periods on our roads throughout Victoria,” said Sgt Coates. “Sadly, the road toll for 2014 stands at 77, whilst last year at this time it was 71. Weather conditions start to vary around the Easter period, with quite often the onset of rain causing our roads to become slippery. The Corner Inlet area, including Wilsons Promontory National Park, becomes one of the more popular holiday destinations, being within close striking distance of the Melbourne metropolitan area. We would hope that all locals set the example by ensuring their own safety and the safety of visitors during this period.”
Sgt Coates continued: “We would like to see an accident-free Easter, so that no family or family members have the misfortune of having someone injured through an accident. There have already been two collisions caused by carelessness and inattention in recent days. They were avoidable and just go to show how easily it can happen when you are not paying attention whilst driving.”
One of the accidents he was referring to occurred at around 5.20pm last Wednesday. A vehicle was travelling along Waratah Road, Sandy Point, when for no apparent reason the driver, a 56-year-old man from Walkerville, lost control and his vehicle collided with the embankment. The driver sustained injuries requiring admission to hospital in Foster. The matter is still under investigation by police.
The second incident occurred at about 1pm last Sunday in Toora. A 20-year-old Cobden man drove through the stop sign at the intersection of Harriet and Victoria Streets, colliding with a second vehicle in Victoria Street and causing a third vehicle to also collide. Fortunately, no-one was injured, but two vehicles needed to be towed away. The offending driver was issued with an on-the-spot fine of $289 and three penalty points.
Sgt Coates concluded: “I hope everyone has a safe Easter, but ultimately it’s up to the person driving the car.”
Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan added his voice to the road safety message, urging motorists to take individual responsibility for improving safety by making safe travel choices.
“Being distracted by text and phone calls, speeding while rushing to your next destination, or simply not respecting other road users, can lead to a situation from which you can never turn back,” Mr Ryan said.
“The Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government recently launched ‘The Road to Zero – it starts with you’ campaign that encourages motorists to share their road safety ideas and tips through videos, photos or messages.
“By using the ‘#roadtozero’ hashtag, Gippslanders can show their support by posting their ideas and sharing stories through the campaign’s Facebook and Twitter pages.”
Mr Ryan said the campaign would run in conjunction with a statewide road enforcement operation including the consecutive Easter and ANZAC Day long weekends, as well as the Queen’s Birthday holiday.
“If you’re doing the wrong thing on the road, then expect to be stopped by police,” he said.
“Whether you’re bushwalking at The Prom, sailing the magnificent Gippsland Lakes or spending time on the 90 Mile Beach, take ownership of your actions behind the wheel because the road to zero starts with you.”