Wimmera police kept busy at Easter

WIMMERA police have breathed a sigh of relief after a fatality-free Easter on the region’s roads. 

But pursuits, speeding and an alleged convoy of dangerous drivers kept highway patrol units busy.

Northern Grampians Police Service area was home to several crowd-drawing Easter events.

People travelled from far and wide to see the 133rd Stawell Gift.

Stawell also hosted a phantom race meet, while a rodeo attracted visitors to Great Western on Good Friday. 

Northern Grampians Highway Patrol Sergeant Rod Davis said his unit preliminary breath-tested 1321 people for alcohol from Good Friday to Easter Monday.

“Seventeen people were randomly tested for drug-driving,” he said.

Sgt Davis said all the tests were negative. 

“It’s certainly pleasing to see, with the number of people tested for alcohol and drugs, there were no positive results,” he said.

“When pulling people over in Stawell, we found a lot of designated drivers.

“The public needs to be congratulated.”

Speeding

Speeding was his primary concern.

Twenty people were picked up for speeding in the Northern Grampians Police Service Area. 

Among the worst offenders was a Melbourne probationary driver, 31, who lost his licence for a month on Monday after being clocked driving at 92 kilometres an hour in Barkly Street, Ararat.

Sgt Davis said the sign-posted speed limit was 60kmh.

In addition to losing his licence, the man was fined $469 and lost four demerit points.

“On Thursday, a person was detected driving at 141kmh on the Western Highway in a 100kmh zone,” Sgt Davis said.

“That speed carries a six-month licence suspension, a $541 fine and six demerit points.

“People are still prepared to take the risk of driving at excessive speeds, not only placing themselves in danger but all other road users.”

“People are still prepared to take the risk of driving at excessive speeds, not only placing themselves in danger but all other road users.” - Northern Grampians Highway Patrol Sergeant Rod Davis

Police also encountered incidents of driver distraction, failure to wear seatbelts and defective vehicles.

“It’s not good enough,” Sgt Davis said.

Police are investigating an alleged convoy of dangerous drivers on the Western Highway between Ararat and Beaufort on Sunday.

Investigators were told four cars and up to six motorcycles were travelling east in a convoy about 5.50pm.

Horsham Highway Patrol Sergeant John McTaggart said speed was also his main concern over the Easter weekend.

Unit members were involved in two pursuits – one originating in South Australia, the other ending there.

“It’s something we are very concerned about, especially on days with high volumes of traffic along the Western Highway,” Sgt McTaggart said.

Three people tested positive to illicit drugs during oral fluid tests.

“People are still using their mobile phones while driving and not wearing seatbelts,” Sgt McTaggart said.

“However, the behaviour of the general population was good.”

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