Wimmera police bust drink and drug drivers in road safety campaign

WIMMERA police detected more than 1100 driving offences during road safety campaign Summer Stay.

The Summer Stay campaign began on November 15 and ended at midnight on Monday.

The campaign encouraged drivers to stay safe on the roads during the traditionally high-risk holiday period.

In Northern Grampians Police Service Area, which covers Northern Grampians Shire, Ararat Rural City and Yarriambiack Shire, police detected 663 driving offences, including 19 drink-driving offences.

Officers did 10,087 preliminary breath tests in the area.

In the Horsham Police Service Area, which covers Horsham Rural City, West Wimmera Shire and Hindmarsh Shire, police detected 492 driving offences, including 28 drink or drug driving offences.

Officers did 9300 preliminary breath tests in the area.

Northern Grampians Highway Patrol Sergeant Rod Davis said although there had been a decrease in the detection rate of people drink-driving, there was an increase in people driving while under the influence of illicit drugs.

"We've put the message out there about the dangers of drink-driving, but more education is still needed on people using illicit drugs particularly cannabis and methamphetamine," he said.

Sgt Davis said it was disappointing to see people still speeding.

"There were also offences regarding mobile phone use and other safety issues, such as not wearing seatbelts," he said.

"People need to be aware that when driving at this time of the year - when there is increased traffic on the highway - they need to pay particular attention.

"Although we should be paying attention all the time, we need to have a heightened awareness at this time of the year."

Horsham Highway Patrol Sergeant Wayne Caddy said there were no fatal crashes in the area during the campaign, but there were a number of crashes that caused non-life-threatening injuries.

"We had bad results and high readings in regard to drink-driving," he said.

"Drug drivers also continue to increase."

Sgt Caddy said very high speeds were recorded, including one driver clocked at 194kmh in a 100kmh zone on December 31.

"It never ceases to amaze me the stupidity of some drivers," he said.

"People are acting irresponsibly and putting others in their car, other road users and pedestrians in danger.

"They keep us busy in our job."

Sgt Caddy said drivers needed to be responsible for their own actions.

"We will continue to target people," he said.

Road Policing Command Superintendent Neville Taylor said while he was encouraged by a drop in drink-driving offences, the numbers were still far too high.

"Speed, impairment and distraction are among the biggest killers on our roads and police will continue to enforce these," he said.

"The fact that there has been a reduction in drink-driving shows that the message is starting to sink in, but there is still more work to be done to make the roads safer for everyone."

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