Kyabram Free Press

Undera man dies in crash

- By Ashlea Witoslawsk­i

POLICE have again emphasised the importance of driver safety after the loss of another life this weekend, taking the region’s road toll to six this year.

An Undera man, 44, died after his car struck a tree in Merrigum on Sunday morning, increasing this year’s Victorian road toll to 89.

Compared with 58 deaths at the same time last year, Greater Shepparton Acting Inspector Mick Layton said road safety would continue to be a priority across the region this year.

Acting Insp Layton said self awareness was essential in all drivers, regardless of age or driving ability.

‘‘We’re a bit unique here because we have local traffic, but we’re also a trucking centre,’’ he said.

‘‘We have the long distance traveller, the short commuter and the trucking industry passing through.

‘‘It’s important for everyone to check their fatigue, maintain focus, control speed and drive in a sensible way.’’

Acting Insp Layton said police were focusing on driver behaviour, with an emphasis on fatigue and the use of mobile devices.

Reduction of speed, compliance with seatbelts and rules surroundin­g drink and drug driving will also continue to be a priority for police.

‘‘It’s really about driving in the same way you would expect others around you to be driving,’’ he said.

Acting Insp Layton said this year had involved an increased police presence in the region with the support of the State Highway Patrol and Heavy Vehicle Unit.

He also said there had been an increased number of community meetings and dedicated road safety operations such as Operation Joint on Friday evening and Operation Preventabl­e last month to name a few.

‘‘It’s been a real combined effort with our uniform police, highway patrol units and the support we get from state highway members,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a shared responsibi­lity between all road users and our message is for drivers to just take it easy.’’

‘‘We’ll be maintainin­g a focus on road safety in an effort to do everything we can to ensure our local road users are safe.’’

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