Impaired drivers, speeders anger police

South-west police nabbed numerous speeders, alcohol and drug-impaired drivers in a weekend crackdown that revealed a disappointing reversal in road safety trends.

Police conducted more than 3500 preliminary breath tests across the south-west last weekend

Warrnambool police station commander Shane Keogh said a significantly higher number of driving offences were detected during last weekend’s blitz compared to the results of an earlier operation on the July 4-6 weekend.

Senior Sergeant Keogh said five positive readings for drink-driving were detected from the 3500 preliminary breath tests carried out.

He said most of the positive drink-driving readings were not a long way over the allowable alcohol limit.

Eight people were also charged with driving while drug-impaired after 126 tests were done.

The drugs detected were cannanbis and methamphetamine.

Senior Sergeant Keogh said 122 other offences were also detected, including 46 for speeding.

Twenty-two of the speeding offences involved motorists driving at more than 15 kilometres an hour above the 100km/h speed limit, he said.

“Speed and alcohol are the main drivers of our road trauma and this traffic blitz reinforces that we have a way to go,” Senior Sergeant Keogh said.

Police gave prior warning through the media of each of the road blitzes.

Ten drivers were caught not wearing seatbelts.

The blitz also found 15 unregistered vehicles and 14 in an unroadworthy condition.

The weekend’s traffic operation involved the allocation of a total of 197 daily police shifts to road safety duties in the south-west by about 85 officers from throughout the region and state highway patrol.

Another police blitz earlier in the month tested about 1300 drivers but only one driver was nabbed for allegedly drink-driving and two others for being drug impaired, one for taking cannabis and the other for taking methamphetamine.

The low number of offences detected in the July 4-6 blitz raised police hopes that most south-west motorists were taking on board the messages in road safety campaigns.

Senior Sergeant Keogh said while the blitzes might have finished, south-west police would continue to be out in force to reduce the incidence of road trauma by enforcing road laws.

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