Police launch blitz to reduce road trauma in Ballarat

BALLARAT drivers can expect more police on the roads over the next six weeks after Victoria Police yesterday launched a targeted campaign to reduce road trauma at the start of the year.

Ballarat is among 16 police service areas where Operation Limit will run between yesterday and the end of February.

Head of Victorian road policing operations and investigations, Superintendent Neville Taylor, said he was determined not to see another horror start to the year on state roads.

“January and February are historically high-risk times for road trauma and particularly in rural areas,” he said.

“In recent years we found we got to March and April and we’re saying to the community that we’ve had a horror start to the year.”

During 2011 there were 29 deaths on roads in the Ballarat-Bendigo area, however that figure increased to 40 last year.

“We want to hit those areas right from the start. This is about having a highly visible presence and active enforcement,” Superintendent Taylor said.

“We know the things that are costing lives on the road, and they are speeding, drink and drug-driving, distraction and people not wearing seatbelts. Funnily enough they are all about the driver’s behaviour.”

Superintendent Taylor said the operation would be in the Ballarat-Bendigo area for about nine days in total.

During the blitz police from the State Highway Patrol, Road Policing Drug and Alcohol Section, Heavy Vehicle Unit and Solo Unit will run booze and drug buses and satellite patrols, on and off-road motorcycle patrols and speed checks.

Assistant Commissioner for Road Policing Robert Hill said the first three months of the year were historically high-risk periods for road trauma in Victoria.

“In January 2012 we saw a 67 per cent increase in the number of fatalities compared to 2011, with 30 people killed on Victorian roads,” he said.

evan.schuurman@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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