Victoria’s top traffic cop has singled out Ballarat as motorcycle police descend on the city amid a crackdown on road safety during the Labour Day long weekend.
The move comes after senior officers urged Ballarat residents to play it safe, with specialist units focused on ridding Victoria’s roads of drink and drug drivers during Operation Arid, which started on Friday and runs until Monday.
Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer pointed to Ballarat as a key region of the sting, saying police were looking to catch as many intoxicated drivers as possible.
“Last year we caught 78 drink drivers and 42 drug drivers each day of the operation – this is unacceptable,” Mr Fryer said.
“We know over a long weekend people take the opportunity to get away and, with motorists often driving on unfamiliar roads and in new environments, any level of impairment is a recipe for disaster.
“Extra resources will be deployed to five priority areas including Melbourne, Bendigo, Casey and Dandenong, Ballarat and the Mornington Peninsula.
“These areas have been identified after looking at the number of collisions, injuries and volume of trauma over previous years.”
Ballarat police will be supported by specialist resources usually based in Melbourne including the heavy vehicle unit, the motorcycle unit and the operations response unit.
Police will also deploy alcohol and drug buses across regional Victoria during the four-day operation.
Last year, four people died on the Labour Day long weekend in Victoria.
Mr Fryer said country roads such as those around Ballarat had been over-represented in this year’s road toll.
“We know country roads by their nature are more dangerous than in the city,” he said.
“So we ask everyone to pay attention, it’s not driving to the posted speed, it’s driving to the conditions, so whether it’s dusk, dawn, rain, glare – you need to drive to the conditions on every single road and not to the posted speed.
“Don’t aim for 100, aim for what’s right. Invariably, that won’t be 100, it could be you might need to drop it down to 70.”