Police crackdown on drug, drink driving

THREE motorists were charged in relation to drug and drink driving offences during a police operation last weekend, and one had his licence suspended after overtaking a police car at almost 150 kilometres per hour.

Wellington Highway Patrol conducted the operation across the shire targeting drug driving as well as drink driving and speed.

Nineteen preliminary oral fluid tests were conducted over the weekend. Three tests, taken in Yarram, Sale and Fulham, returned positive indications to drugs and are being further analysed by forensics.

A 29-year-old female driver from Sale was detected with an alleged breath alcohol reading of 0.132 and received an on the spot disqualification from driving in Victoria for 13 months.

A 30-year-old Endeavour Hills man was intercepted and arrested at Fulham for allegedly being in possession of a quantity of illicit substances and a regulated weapon. A preliminary oral fluid test also indicated the presence of a drug in his system and he was interviewed by Sale police and Wellington Highway Patrol.

The male was released pending summons to appear at Sale Magistrates’ Court at a later date.

A 32-year-old male driving on an international permit was detected travelling at 147 kilometres per hour in a 100kph zone on the Princes Highway at Wurruk. The driver made his presence and speed obvious to police by overtaking the unmarked police car.

He received a large fine and was suspended on the spot from driving in Victoria for 12 months.

Thirteen other penalty notices were issued to other motorists for traffic offences including unaccompanied learner driver, false number plates, unregistered vehicle and speeding.

Out of 283 preliminary breath tests administered, two offences were detected.

Six vehicles had roadworthy defect notices issued.

Wellington Highway Patrol officer-in-charge Sergeant Luke Banwell said while result of the operation may alarm some members of the community, people should not forget the large numbers of motorists scrutinised without detecting any offences.

“Nearly 300 drivers were tested for alcohol and two returned positive alcohol indications above the legal limit,” he said.

“All vehicles are screened for speed by moving mode radar during our patrols and the ratio of offenders is reasonably low.

“We can do much better, especially in distraction and lower range speed offences. It only takes one driver to cause catastrophe; as we see all too often.”

Sgt Banwell said traffic operations were increasing in the shire to address the anticipated increase in traffic volume associated with upcoming events such as the Melbourne Cup, Sale Show and trout opening.

“Further traffic policing assistance is being provided in the Wellington Shire by State Highway Patrol, Road Policing Drug Alcohol Section and Road Policing Command,” he said.

“Wellington Shire is prominent in the serious injury collision statistical data for the state. It is the major traffic issue we are focussing on and need to reduce.

“Additional safety camera hours have also been requested and likely to be granted within the Wellington Shire.”