Road safety operation wraps up

Safety: Sgt Mick Williams stands with a Latrobe Highway Patrol vehicle.

Alyssa Fritzlaff

A ROAD safety operation has just wrapped up in the Latrobe Valley Police Service Area.

Funded by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), ‘Operation Big Bopper’ aimed to provide enhanced safety on Latrobe Valley roads over the summer months.

Beginning on November 1, 2021 and running until February 19, 2022, TAC funded 304 patrol hours with non-highway patrol uniform police and detectives giving Latrobe Highway Patrol officers a helping hand.

The operation focused on preventing and detecting speeding on high-risk roads through intercepts and high visibility patrols in marked cars.

A total of 122 speed offences were recorded, 13 unregisters vehicles were picked up, 11 unlicensed drivers and 27 other traffic offences.

Only one careless driving offence was recorded.

Police intercepted cars for both enforcement and education, ensuring to warn drivers of the dangers of speeding and providing explanations for any infringements. All drivers intercepted during the operation underwent a preliminary breath test (PBT) and all offending drivers underwent a preliminary oral fluid test (POFT).

There were 273 PBTs conducted and 28 POFTs.

Sergeant Mick Williams, of Latrobe Highway Patrol told The Express that operations like this are good for high risk periods.

“A lot of back roads are our high risk roads, single lane, 100km zone areas,” he said.

“Roads like the Strzelecki Highway, Hyland Highway, the Moe/Glengarry Road and Traralgon/Maffra Road.”

Apart from speeding, Sgt Williams said the use of mobile phones and not wearing seatbelts are some of Latrobe’s more common offences.

Road safety is an important and ongoing issue in Latrobe.

In 2020, the region had five fatal collisions and 62 serious injury collisions.

In 2021, the region had five fatal collisions and 71 serious injury collisions.

One third of the road trauma attended by police in Latrobe is due to inappropriate driving speed for conditions.