Police hit road for Operation Compass

Police will patrol Victoria’s major roads and highways across the Melbourne Cup weekend as travel restrictions continue to ease.

Operation Compass will run statewide in two phases, from 12:01am Friday 29 October to 11:59pm Tuesday 2 November, and from 12:01am Friday 5 November to 11:59pm on Sunday 7 November.

Victoria is set to reach the 80 per cent vaccination milestone in days, which will see travel restrictions between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria lifted.

Police are anticipating an influx of travel to regional areas and tourism hotspots. They’re warning drivers increased traffic volumes combined with long hours behind the wheel and a deterioration in driving skills could be a recipe for disaster.

Motorists are urged to slow down and take extra care with roads to be at their busiest in months.

Eleven lives were lost on Victorian roads last year when lockdown lifted and police are determined to avoid a repeat.

There have already been 190 lives lost on Victorian roads in 2021, which is trending well above the same time last year (178).

Following the recent easing of restrictions in regional Victoria there were at least four fatal collisions in five days and several injury collisions where drink driving was suspected.

Police are urging Victorians enjoying end of lockdown celebrations to think twice before drinking and getting behind the wheel.

Operation Compass will see police targeting speed, distraction, fatigue and impaired driving in high-risk areas. They will be highly visible on major arterials including the Princes Freeway, Calder Freeway, Hume Highway and Western Highway.

The operation will involve all available personnel across Victoria Police including regional Highway Patrols, plus State Highway Patrol, Heavy Vehicle Unit, Road Policing Drug and Alcohol Section and Public Order Response Team.

For more information and tips for staying safe on the roads this long weekend, visit the Road Safety page on the Victoria Police website.

Quotes attributable to Assistant Commissioner Road Policing, Glenn Weir:

“Victorians have done a fantastic job in the fight against COVID-19. But it’s no good surviving the pandemic if you end up dead or seriously injured in a car crash.

“The coming fortnight is a perfect storm on our roads. Many of us haven’t driven long distances for months. Our skills have deteriorated and there’s going to be an enormous amount of traffic as people escape the city and head to regional Victoria.

“Victoria Police will be going all out to keep people safe. You will see highway patrol cars, you will see drug and alcohol buses, you will see our motorbikes and you will see our frontline patrol units.

“Please, help us make this time memorable for all the right reasons. Road trauma is preventable, and we don’t want to see anybody else become an unnecessary statistic.”

/Public Release. View in full here.