THANK YOU FOR DRIV­ING SAFELY

Po­lice hail mo­torists’ be­hav­iour over Christ­mas pe­riod

Campaspe News - - FRONT PAGE - By LACHLAN DURLING

CAMPASPE High­way Pa­trol is prais­ing mo­torists for their be­hav­iour on the district’s roads dur­ing the Op­er­a­tion Road­wise pe­riod.

Through­out the road safe op­er­a­tion which ran from De­cem­ber 14 un­til Jan­uary 6 there were no serious in­juries as a re­sult of a col­li­sion.

Campaspe High­way Pa­trol of­fi­cer in charge Paul Ni­coll said de­spite the roads swelling with tourist traf­fic, driv­ers weren’t tak­ing risks on the road. ‘‘We’re very pleased with the re­sult con­sid­er­ing so many people were on the roads,’’ Sgt Ni­coll said.

A to­tal of 1593 breath tests were con­ducted re­sult­ing in about 10 drinkdriv­ing of­fences and on the roads there were 154 traf­fic of­fences.

‘‘Those (traf­fic of­fences) are just things such as speed­ing, driv­ing un­li­censed or un­reg­is­tered and that num­ber is on av­er­age with other times,’’ Sgt Ni­coll said.

‘‘Each time the high­way pa­trol ve­hi­cle goes out, they usu­ally have seven or eight of­fences a day — and then the sin­gle-per­son pa­trols will have some too, so 154 is on av­er­age.’’

How­ever a more con­cern­ing statis­tic is one which can’t be quan­ti­fied for an­other three or so months.

‘‘We’re find­ing a lot more driv­ers un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs rather than drink-driv­ing,’’ Sgt Ni­coll said. ‘‘The sta­tis­tics are skewed be­cause the re­sults for drug tests take three-to-four months to re­turn from test­ing in Mel­bourne.’’

Sgt Ni­coll said while drug tests aren’t as in­stan­ta­neous as blow­ing into a breathal­yser, it is rare for a road­side drug test to re­turn pos­i­tive and then fur­ther test­ing to come back neg­a­tive.

De­spite this, of­fi­cers can­not count the pre­lim­i­nary test in their ini­tial sta­tis­tics. He also said there is an in­creas­ing amount of drug driv­ers.

‘‘How­ever I be­lieve that’s re­flected state-wide — there has been a change in at­ti­tude to­ward drink-driv­ing. A lot of people just don’t risk it now,’’ Sgt Ni­coll said.

With more people test­ing pos­i­tive to pro­hib­ited sub­stances, Sgt Ni­coll said he hopes driv­ers will recog­nise the risk of driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs is just as bad as drink-driv­ing.

De­spite the pend­ing re­sults, Sgt Ni­coll said po­lice were pleased with driv­ers. ‘‘We’re pleased and grate­ful that there were no serious in­juries on the roads and we hope that trend con­tin­ues well into 2019,’’ he said.

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