Extra road police in the south-west for long weekend traffic

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Moyne Warrnambool Road Users Group’s Nicole Wood (second from left) with Warrnambool police officers (from left) Sean Halley, Trudy Morland and John Keats.150303VH55 Picture: VICKY HUGHSONPOLICE chiefs are urging all motorists to take extra care this long weekend as visitors flock to the south-west for the start of the annual tuna fishing season and the Port Fairy Folk Festival.

Police will be out in force during the long weekend as part of Operation Arid, which aims to combat a traditional Labour Day spike in road trauma.

Senior Sergeant Russell Tharle, of Warrnambool police, said extra officers were rostered on this weekend to assist in Port Fairy and target driver behaviour across the south-west.

He said those officers would be on the road from Friday through to Monday with a focus on drink-driving, driver distraction and speeding.

“We would ask all motorists to plan their drives and take two-hour breaks when they feel tired so everyone can have a safe and enjoyable long weekend,” Senior Sergeant Tharle said.

Portland road policing sergeant Ryan Nelson said tuna were being caught in small numbers off Portland and he expected an influx of anglers.

“The tuna are definitely out there and there will be a lot of fishermen on the roads this weekend,” he said.

Senior Sergeant Tharle also warned that automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) will be used in the Warrnambool area during coming weeks.

He said the ANPR system detected stolen vehicles, stolen registration plates, vehicle whereabouts, unlicensed drivers, drivers with an interlock condition and unregistered vehicles. Every police vehicle will act as a mobile booze bus and motorists can be breath-tested and drug-tested anywhere and any time.

Meanwhile, fatigue and speed will be the focus of a new six-month campaign by police and the Moyne and Warrnambool Road Users Group.

Victoria Police south-west road safety advisor Acting Senior Sergeant Sean Halley said both issues had been prominent in recent collisions across the region. He said it would target drivers attending carnivals, festivals and those travelling to and from the south-west on holiday.

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