Drivers on drugs despite rising road toll

(Picture: Rebecca Hosking) 194314_12

by Luke Voogt

Geelong police nabbed 15 drivers on drugs or over the blood alcohol limit on local roads over the weekend as part of a state-wide operation.

Police detected a total of 172 offences including speeding, using mobile phones while driving and failure to wear a seatbelt.

The result disappointed Geelong Highway Patrol Acting Senior Sergeant Peter Quick, given police publicised the operation beforehand.

“We’re disappointed because we highlight it and everyone knows we’re going to be out in big numbers but we still keep getting big results,” he said.

“Surely there’s enough publicity that people know police are out in force and there’s zero tolerance for people committing offences.”

Geelong Highway Patrol officers targeted main, arterial and “feeder” roads conducting more than 2500 breath tests during Operation Argus from last Thursday to Sunday, Sen Sgt Quick said.

Ten drivers returned positive tests for drug use during the operation.

But the operation had helped prevent any serious crashes over the weekend, Sen Sgt Quick said.

“We had no serious injuries or fatalities so that’s fantastic. We would like to see (no offences), that would be brilliant.

“Hopefully we’ll get to the end of one of these operations and it will be zero, zero and zero.”

The results of the operation “shocked” local officers, according to a police post on social media.

Police could not “believe” the result given Victoria’s road toll is currently at 197, up 60 on the same time last year, the post read.

“Drivers, road users and the community need to understand that is 197 people who won’t see Christmas this year and 197 families so far this year that have been touched by the road toll.

“The positive for local police is that there was zero road trauma for the region reported during the operation.”

Meanwhile police charged one male for trafficking MDMA and two people with drug possession during an operation targeting badly-behaved Geelong revellers over the weekend.

Police caught 15 people with drugs, cautioning eight for cannabis possession and handing out four drug diversion orders for possession of cocaine or MDMA.

Drug-sniffer dogs and police patrolled central Geelong streets overnight last Friday and Saturday in Operation Pluto to crack down on drug and alcohol offences.

Geelong Acting Sergeant Jaime Gillard described the general attitude of revellers as good, with one violent incident during the two nights.

Police planned similar operations for summer to ensure public safety at late night licensed venues, she said.

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