After a year like no other, police urge Victorians to stay safe on roads over Christmas

Victoria Police is urging every road user to take responsibility for their own safety as it launches Operation Roadwise ahead of an anticipated busy holiday period on Victorian roads.

The operation will see police maintain a highly visible presence to try and prevent dangerous behaviour and encourage people to observe the basics of road safety to prevent tragic outcomes.

Victoria Police has again honoured the legacy of the 206 people who have lost their lives on the road this year with a Christmas tree featuring baubles inscribed with their first names and ages.

Using an intelligence-based approach, police will target busy periods, locations and major arterials where law-breaking drivers are expected to be.

As people head into festive season celebrations, officers will be working hard to ensure that impaired drivers do not put themselves or others at risk, with every single police vehicle able to conduct preliminary breath tests.

With international travel off the cards, it is also anticipated that there will be an increased number of vehicles travelling on rural and regional roads.

These road users are expected to be travelling at both great distances and speeds, on unfamiliar and busy roads, which represents a significant risk of road trauma.

Victoria Police is asking everyone to take things back to basics to ensure that people reach their destinations safely, whether that be for Christmas lunch or into the new year.

That means slowing down, avoiding distractions such as using mobile phones while driving, buckling up and stopping for appropriate rest breaks when travelling long distances.

Operation Roadwise will run from 12.01am on Friday 18 December to 11.59pm on Wednesday 6 January. During Operation Roadwise in 2019, tragically 17 people lost their life due to road trauma.

As stated by Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Libby Murphy

Victorians have worked tirelessly and sacrificed so much to be able to spend this Christmas with the people they love. It would be devastating to think that someone might never make it to Christmas lunch or their holiday away with family due to recklessness or inattention on the road.

The baubles on our Lives Lost Christmas tree act as a reminder that behind the statistics of road trauma are real people. Sadly, this year, five of those baubles represent police officers. It’s a tragic reminder that no one is immune to road trauma. Everyone who loses their life on our roads is missed by someone, and each of these baubles represents a person who was special to those who knew and loved them.

Many people will be attending parties and other events to celebrate the end of the year, so if you are going to have a few drinks, then make sure you’ve planned how to get home without driving. Drug and alcohol testing will be taking place throughout the state and our police will be testing as many motorists and riders as possible to get those who are impaired by either drugs or alcohol off our roads.

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