The highly trained members of the Loch Road Accident and Rescue Unit have been responding to accidents and incidents in the local area since the 1980s; they will again be on-hand over the notorious Easter and Anzac Day holiday periods.
IF you’re thinking about breaking the law on the roads across this Easter and Anzac Day holiday period, the chances are you’re going to get caught.
Police from both the South Gippsland and Bass Coast districts are gearing up for what is set to be one of their biggest operations this year when they begin targeting unsafe and dangerous drivers on the roads.
Easter is notorious for a rise in the number of accidents on the roads and with the Anzac Day long weekend falling just a week later, local police are set to step-up their presence on local roads.
Bass Coast Highway Patrol Sergeant Jason Hullick said in addition to normal patrols, police members will be participating in several traffic operations designed to reduce road trauma and keep the roads safe.
“There will be two state based operations running over a 10 day period commencing on Tuesday, April 15 and running right through to midnight on Sunday, April 17.”
The operations will target all road users in an effort to reduce road trauma levels and is supported by the Transport Accident Commission’s (TAC’s) media campaign theme being ‘The Party’s Over’.
Victoria Police’s enforcement activities incorporate heavy vehicles, light trucks, cars, motorcycles, cyclists and pedestrians.
Bass Coast Highway Patrol and local police members, who will be supported by the State Highway Patrol, will be saturating the local area with targeted patrols including local Booze Bus sites, Automatic Number Plate Recognition mobile units targeting unlicensed and unregistered motorists.
They have also planned a number of local covert patrols concentrating on back roads where they will be targeting drink driving.
“Local intelligence suggests that annual holiday periods contribute to a significant increase in road trauma which can often lead to death or serious injury,” Sgt Hullick said.
“This year, the Easter and Anzac Day holiday period coincide over a two week period.
“It will be significant in terms of road travel and provides an opportunity for families to free themselves from their usual commitments.”
It is anticipated that large numbers of people will use Victorian roads, often driving long distances in unfamiliar driving conditions, as they travel to and from their destinations.
The days leading up to the 2014 Easter holiday period is also the school holiday period.
“Our area down here is significant for holiday traffic and generally attracts a huge amount of holiday makers due to the fact it is close to Melbourne and a lovely place to visit,” Sgt Hullick said.
“But with that influx of people comes an increased risk on the road so we ask that when you are out and about please take care, be courteous and above all drive safely.”
Sgt Hullick said it is important to plan ahead before heading out for Easter celebrations.
“If you plan to have a drink then you should be planning how you are going to get home,” he said.
“Either have a designated driver or get a taxi as the consequences of being detected, are a loss of licence, large fines and the possibility of jail time should you be a repeat offender.
“Of course, should you kill or seriously injure someone whilst behind the wheel intoxicated then you will most definitely face jail.”
Research indicates that the main contributing factors to fatalities during the Easter period often involve one or more of the following: excessive speed, alcohol intoxication, fatigue, drug driving, driver distraction and not wearing seatbelts.
“I get sick and tired of hearing people go on with the usual revenue raising argument or the offensive ‘shouldn’t you be catching real crooks’ line,” Sgt Hullick said.
“All the areas listed above cause death and serious injury when mixed with a motor car.
“I would challenge anyone to tell the families who have suffered the devastation that road trauma brings that the police should not be targeting these factors.
“If you bring this attitude to our area, if you drive dangerously or break the road rules you will be targeted and if caught there will be no warnings.”
Sgt Hullick said officers will be highly visible and they will be enforcing the road rules and taking strong action against anyone caught jeopardising their safety or the safety of other road users.