DEPUTY Commissioner (Road Policing) Ken Lay visited Foster last week.
The distinguished traffic policeman gave an address to members of the local Rotary Club and their partners at a function at the Foster Football Club rooms on September 27.
D/C Lay spoke about the road toll and the impact of a number of initiatives that have been introduced in this State, dating back to the early 1970s when Victoria was one of the first places in the world to introduce the compulsory wearing of seat belts. At that time the road toll exceeded 1000 fatalities per year and had been increasing annually.
“Declare War on 1034 was the emphasis of the campaign and that received major support from newspapers throughout the State,” said D/C Lay. “The road toll in Victoria has decreased noticeably at each initiative introduced by the State Government and enforced by the Victoria Police over the past 40 years. These included compulsory wearing of seat belts for all occupants in a vehicle, Random Breath Tests (RBTs), Booze Buses, child restraint systems and now the testing of drivers for drugs, speed cameras and mobile moving radar (MMR) in police vehicles.
“Impounding of cars under the ‘hoon’ legislation has taken many irresponsible drivers off the road, and now with the crushing of vehicles used by drivers convicted of three offences under the legislation we intend to show all motorists that we are serious in our endeavors to reduce the road toll.”
D/C Lay also mentioned the impact recreational drug takers are having on the road toll and quoted an example of tests conducted after a recent “rave party” in Melbourne, where one in four motorists tested leaving the party were found to have drugs in their blood and yet still attempted to drive.
The Rotarians and partners were also shown a collage of the road safety clips that have screened on television over the years, in an effort to reduce the road toll, and judging from the silence in the room at the end of this feature, their effect had a profound impact on those present.
“Our road toll for 2010 to date is 290 and the way we are heading there may well be another 100 people killed in fatal crashes between now and the end of the year. On top of that we have to add the millions of dollars it costs the community to treat the injured and maimed who survive these crashes,” said D/C Lay.
He made the point that Victoria is the envy of many places in the world due to its road toll reduction and said that overseas experts regularly visit this State to examine the many initiatives that have been implemented.
D/C Lay also took the time to catch up with former work colleagues and friends who attended, including Sergeant Neil Coates of Foster, Senior Constable Mal Heywood of Toora and (retired) Superintendent Adrian Fyfe. From 1998 to 2002, D/C Lay was the Inspector in Charge of the Bass Coast Police Service Area (PSA) and responsible for the provision of the police response to both Bass Coast and South Gippsland municipalities. Born in Korumburra, he lived there until he made the Victoria Police Force his career and still has strong links with this area.