STATISTICS have shown that while it is a new year, Greater Geelong residents are still up to the same old driving habits.
Up to 594 infringements were handed out to drivers across the region during a 20-day police operation that took place over the festive season.
Victoria Police rolled out Operation Roadwise which ran from December 18 to January 6 in an attempt to minimise lives lost during the busiest time of the year on state roads.
Overall police were pleased with Victorian drivers over the New Year period, but reports show speeding and impaired driving continue to be an issue.
Drivers from the Greater Geelong region were most frequently nabbed for speeding offences (357), drug driving (47) and unregistered vehicles (58).
Assistant Commissioner Libby Murphy was disappointed by drivers disregard for police warnings against driving impaired.
“It is not worth being caught, or worse – seriously injuring or killing yourself, your mates, or an innocent road user,” she said.
Across the state, 10 lives were lost on the road during the 20-day operation which came as five less than in the previous year.
Other infringements dished out across the region included driving with a suspended license, disobeying road signs and seatbelt non-compliance.
“We want 2021 to be a better year for all Victorians,” Ms Murphy said.
“This means slowing down, avoiding distractions such as mobile phones, buckling up and stopping for appropriate rest breaks.”
The Operation Roadwise data comes after the state government unveiled a new strategy to eliminate all road deaths by 2050 following a worrying year on the roads.
Despite Victoria recording its lowest annual road toll with 213 lives lost, Ms Murphy said the trend was a concern.
“What we’ve actually seen is that per 10,000 vehicles on the road there’s been significantly larger amounts of trauma which is concerning for us,” she said.
With 53 less lives lost in 2020 than in the previous year, Victoria Police believe the rate of trauma across the state has increased when statistics are modified to make up for the fewer cars on the road as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Labor Government’s new Road Safety Strategy will invest $720 million to combat the concerning statistics, while working towards halving the road toll by 2030 and eliminating it by 2050.
The Transport Accident Commission reported a spike in high range speeding during restrictions as well as impaired driving, illegal phone use, fatigue and seatbelt non-compliance.
Under the new strategy the government will contribute $35 million to roll out AI-enabled camera systems that can pick up mobile phone use as well as seatbelts not being worn.
Along with high-tech cameras, the new strategy will develop programs to combat drink driving, ensuring safer cars are on the road and delivering improved infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians.
Minister for Road Safety Ben Carroll said the strategy is an ambitious attempt to keep Victorians safe while setting out the next 10 years of work.
“I won’t accept that someone not making it home to their family is an inevitable part of using our roads – it’s why we’re making the investments to reduce the heartbreak that too many Victorian families still experience,” he said.
“We need all Victorians to make the right choices to keep them and other road users safe.”
Infringement breakdown for 20-day operation:
Geelong infringements issued include:
5 drink drivers 28 drug drivers
18 disqualified drivers 21 unlicensed drivers
179 speeding offences 24 disobey signs/signals
20 seatbelt offences 18 mobile phone offences
55 unregistered vehicles 9 impoundments
11 cyclist offences
Surf Coast infringements issued include:
10 drink drivers 7 seatbelt offences
19 drug drivers 2 mobile phone offences
5 disqualified drivers 13 unregistered vehicles
7 unlicensed drivers 2 impoundments
178 speeding offences 0 cyclist offences
13 disobey signs/signal