Motorists urged to take extra care during holidays, as road toll looms

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With end-of-year parties and family gatherings taking place across the country, police are kicking off operations in the hope of keeping the road toll down.

Police are asking drivers to be extra vigilant and avoid drink driving as the holiday season approaches.

With families hitting the road in the lead-up to Christmas, police from all states will be increasing their presence in an effort to limit the nation’s road toll – which is currently 6.5 per cent higher than the same time last year.

Victoria Police kicked off Operation Roadwise today, with drug and alcohol testing to be a focus, due to a statistical increase in drunk driving offences during December – likely due to people miscalculating their alcohol intake before getting behind the wheel.

The operation has been extended to 18 days this year, with police targeting coastal areas and popular holiday destinations.

“We will be focusing heavily on impaired drivers, so expect to be tested, and be prepared to face the consequences if you’re caught over the limit,” Victoria Police Road Policing Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir said in a written statement.

“For those who choose to ignore the road rules – you’ll be up for a costly Christmas. The penalties are significant, and we make no apologies for enforcing the rules – it could save someone’s life.”

According to government data, the nation’s 12-month rolling road toll is 118 per cent above the target, while Victoria is experiencing its highest number of road-related fatalities in 15 years.

“It’s been a horror year on our roads and we will be doing all we can to stop this needless loss of life,” Assistant Commissioner Weir added.

Meanwhile, NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Jenny Aitchison, advised drivers to be patient and have a plan to avoid fatigue.

“We want people to have a safe and happy festive season. The best way to do this is to plan ahead, so you don’t get caught out by delays, and arrive at your destination well rested,” she said in a media statement.

“Consider leaving home earlier or later in the day than you otherwise would to avoid peak times along your route.

“Tragically, as of midnight 11 December 2023, 334 people had lost their lives on NSW roads so far this year which is 67 more than for the same time last year. So I’m asking everyone to please take extra care on our roads.”

“Too many lives have been lost on our roads as a direct result of someone selfishly making the wrong decision to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner of Road Policing and Regional Support Command, Chris Stream, said in a media statement earlier this month.

“We have rolling police operations planned across the road networks where officers will be conducting random breath tests, drug tests, speed detection and general road enforcement … expect to see us anywhere, anytime.”

Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more than two decades. Ben began writing professionally more than 15 years ago and was previously an interstate truck driver. He completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021 and is considered an expert on classic car investment.

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