Minimise road risk this season

Ballarat police have warned drowsy drivers to wake up to themselves to avoid spoiling the festive season for their family and friends.

Highway patrol members and general duties police in Ballarat are in the midst of Operation Breakup – a coordinated crackdown targeting fatigued, drunk, speeding and distracted drivers in the lead-up to Christmas.

Other offences, such as drivers and passengers not wearing seat belts, will also be targeted by police.

Ballarat Highway Patrol Leading Senior Constable Craig Walker said the period leading up to Christmas was always a busy one for police in Ballarat.

He said extra members would be rostered on in the Ballarat area to ensure holiday drivers focus on the road.

“Normally, people get home from work and put their feet up; at this time of year people get in the car after work and travel for hours to get to a holiday destination,” he said.

“It’s important for everyone to get plenty of rest, swap drivers and take regular rest breaks.”

Leading Senior Constable Walker said distractions in the car, such as using a mobile phone when driving, can be extremely dangerous and costly for the driver.

“For a hand-held mobile phone cradle and a hands-free kit – you’d probably spend $100,” he said.

“But the penalty notice for using your phone while driving is $280.”

He said police were traditionally busier than they wanted to be over the next few days, but made no apologies for cracking down on drivers.

“In the lead-up to Christmas it wouldn’t be unusual to detect 10 offences during a shift,” he said.

“I would love to come back at the end of the day with nothing, but unfortunately some people just don’t heed the warnings.”

Police will also crackdown on drink drivers, with hundreds of breath tests expected to be conducted over the next week.

“If you’re going to have a few drinks, organise a designated driver or just catch a cab,” Leading Senior Constable Walker said.

“It’s pretty simple.”