An additional police presence was not a deterrent for some drivers, with people continuing to flout road rules when heading to regional Victoria in recent weeks. Disappointingly police saw dangerous behaviour such as impaired driving, speeding and mobile phone use beginning to creep back in.
Operation Compass, a state-wide operation to try and influence bad driver behaviour, kicked off on 12 November and saw police using an intelligence-based approach to target locations and major arterials where law-breaking drivers were expected to be.
Unfortunately, reckless and selfish behaviours which are widely known to contribute to collisions were prevalent.
Police issued over 7000 infringements for speeding offences during the operation, with almost two thirds of these for exceeding the speed limit by 10km/h to 25km/h.
As Victorians returned to enjoying restaurants, pubs and wineries, police were conducting both PBTs and drug tests to get impaired drivers off the roads, with over 800 impaired drivers issued with infringements.
Across the 15-day operation 410 people were caught drink driving and 454 people with drugs in their system.
Victoria Police was also frustrated in the fact that more than 800 people were caught using their mobile phone while driving.
More than 16,827 traffic offences and 1,545 crime offences were detected during Operation Compass including:
• 7,092 speeding offences
• 369 disqualified/suspended drivers
• 617 unlicensed drivers
• 1,859 unregistered vehicles
• 837 mobile phone offences
• 854 disobey signs/signals
• 269 vehicle impounds
• 372 seatbelt offences
Operation Compass ran from:
• 12.01am on Thursday 12 November to 11.59pm on Sunday 15 November
• 12.01am on Thursday 19 November to 11.59pm on Sunday 22 November
• 12.01am on Thursday 26 November to 11.59pm on Sunday 29 November
As noted by Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Libby Murphy:
“This year has been a challenging year for all Victorians. That said, we cannot become complacent about our behaviour on the road. Every single road user has a choice to make when they start their journey.”
“It is baffling to me that people continue to speed and put themselves and others at risk. Exercising a little patience could be the difference between you making it on time to your destination, or never making it at all – it’s a no brainer.”
“People are starting to drive both distances and speeds they are not familiar with, which carries its own risk. But the thought of people then throwing in alcohol, drugs or distraction into the mix is a deadly combination.”