Booze buses, Highway Patrol members and uniformed police will swarm Ballarat’s streets and highways this long weekend as part of a major road safety police blitz.
Operation Aegis XII officially began yesterday and will run through to Monday, targeting all road users from heavy vehicles to cars to cyclists as part of the ‘We are the toll’ campaign.
The campaign was launched on April 1 following predictions that the final 2012 road toll could be 30 to 40 deaths higher than last year.
Ballarat Highway Patrol Sergeant Stuart Gale said members would be focusing on speed, drink driving and driver distraction, but would place a special emphasis on fatigue.
“Statistically, single vehicles going off-road is our biggest killer in the division,” he said.
“If people are driving long distances this weekend, they should make sure they take regular breaks.”
Sergeant Gale said police were taking no chances this weekend, using all their resources to swamp the district with blue and white.
“It’s the same message each time and police get frustrated when people don’t listen to the warnings,” he said.
“We’ll be taking a zero tolerance approach this weekend.”
Hundreds of police will also descend on inner Melbourne roads, flooding major city exit routes in the largest Automatic Number Plate Recognition operation ever run in Victoria.
Numerous ANPR sites will be set up across inner Melbourne, scanning thousands of vehicles as motorists leave the city for the long weekend.
Road Policing Superintendent Neville Taylor said research showed that unauthorised drivers were commonly over represented in road trauma.
“Whether they’re unlicensed or driving an unregistered vehicle, unauthorised drivers create extra risks on our roads,” he said.
“As we see large volumes of traffic leaving Melbourne going into the long weekend, the use of ANPR technology will allow us to detect these risk takers, get them off the road and hopefully have a positive effect on reducing road trauma.”