More Ballarat drivers caught on drugs than drunk on long weekend

The State Highway Patrol was in action in Ballarat over the long weekend with 4900 breath tests conducted. There were 11 drugged drivers and nine drink drivers detected. Picture: Greg Gliddon
The State Highway Patrol was in action in Ballarat over the long weekend with 4900 breath tests conducted. There were 11 drugged drivers and nine drink drivers detected. Picture: Greg Gliddon

DRUGGED drivers have outnumbered those caught drink driving around Ballarat in a Labour Day weekend shock.

And it is a statewide trend that is concerning police with one in six drivers tested for illicit drugs testing positive.

In the Ballarat district which takes in areas including Moorabool and Hepburn shires, 11 drivers were found to have illicit drugs in their system while nine were caught drink driving.

A further 140 people were fined for speeding, including one man who was caught at over 150km/h and another 22 were found to be in unregistered cars.

Despite the bad behaviour of motorists, there were only two serious injury crashes, one in Bacchus Marsh on Friday night and the other one in Ballarat where the victim was later released from hospital.

“It’s very concerning to know that these people are on the road with their family and friends and it does heighten the risk for other road users with these people out on the road,”

Senior Sergeant Ben Young

Senior Sergeant Ben Young said Ballarat police conducted 4900 breath tests over the long weekend.

He said the region had been earmarked for special treatment after a string of accidents in recent years which has seen 13 serious injury crashes and one fatal on the Labour Day weekend since 2013.

“It’s very concerning to know that these people are on the road with their family and friends and it does heighten the risk for other road users with these people out on the road,” Senior Sergeant Young said.

“Impaired driving to any extent remains a significant concern for police. It’s an issue that been identified and we need to increase our enforcement and testing to combat.”

Across the state, Operation Arid saw 1512 roadside drug tests, which nabbed 234 drug affected drivers.

There were 299 drink drivers also taken off the road.

Six people were killed. Five of those died on country roads.

Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer said the number of drug drivers had increased from last year’s operation.

“With the death of two motorcyclists, two drivers and two passengers our focus on high risk user groups and country roads will remain strong,” Assistant Commissioner Fryer said.

“Safe road user behaviour starts with every single one of us. The operation may have finished however our members will be focused on keeping you safe. There is responsibility though for all road users to do the same.”