Northern Grampians Highway Patrol prepares for Operation Roadwise for a safer Christmas and New Year

Northern Grampians Highway Patrol will be out in force trying to make sure that everyone arrives safely for Christmas.

Victoria Police has launched a statewide safety campaign. 

Wimmera Police Division Superintendent Paul Margetts has urged drivers to take care and plan ahead to avoid stress, taking risks and fatigue when on the road over Christmas and New Year.

“Slow down, get to your destination and home safely,” he said.

“Victoria Police is conducting Operation Roadwise across the state and what we want to avoid is the grief for families that comes out of road trauma.

“We don’t want any families to have to organise an unplanned funeral for a a loved one.”

Superintendent Margetts said the most important part of a trip was planning for plenty of rest.

“When driving at this time of the year, you’re doing thing you don’t normally do and when doing things out of your routine it is easy to be unaware of how fatigued you might be,” he said.

“That means that you can end up putting yourself at risk.

“Drivers on country roads are four times more likely to die or be seriously injured in a crash, and that simply comes from travelling at higher speeds and bodies are subjected to a lot more force and trauma when a crash occurs.”

Northern Grampians Police Service Area will be supporting the statewide Roadwise Campaign in an effort to reduce road trauma during the Christmas and New Year period. 

The campaign started on December 15 and will finish on January 7, 2018. 

Northern Grampians Local Area Commander Paul Bertoncello said Operation Roadwise aimed to influence road-user behaviour by targeting the main causes of fatalities and serious injuries.

“These are excessive speed, driver distraction and mobile phone use, restraint non-compliance [seatbelts], fatigue and impaired driving by either drug and/or alcohol,” he said. 

Police experienced pleasing results during their 24 day Christmas and New Year’s Roadwise operation last year. 

Police conducted 1,137 breath tests in the region and caught nine drivers who tested positive to alcohol and three drivers with drugs.

A total of 269 motorists were caught speeding during the period between December 16 and January 18. 

Seven drivers were nabbed using their mobile phones, 26 drove an unlicensed vehicle or with a disqualified license and 40 unregistered vehicles were identified. 

There were no fatalities.

“We can’t accept that it’s only a matter of time before another life is lost on our roads,” Area Commander Bertoncello said. 

“The most effective safety feature in every car is the driver themselves.

“Please consider that road trauma could happen to you – and the friends and family in the car with you.  If you do, I guarantee that when you get behind the wheel you’ll be conscious of the decisions you are making  when you’re on the roads.”

Area Commander Bertoncello said fatigue was one of the biggest killers on country roads. “It is also something that is very hard for police, so we are calling on the community to take action on fatigue,” he said. 

“If you feel yourself nodding off, pull over and have a 15 minute power-nap. If you see a driver reviver stop, pull over and take a break – your family would prefer you to be 15 minutes late than to never see you again.”

A full list of Driver Reviver stops at