Police plea for safe driving

Wellington Highway Patrol officers are pleading with drivers to stay safe on roads.

Operation Roadwise is underway across the state, with the focus on excessive speed, driver distraction, restraint non-compliance, fatigue and impaired driving (under the influence of alcohol or drugs).

Wellington Highway Patrol Acting Sergeant Daniel Binotto said police would be doing their utmost to keep people safe.

Throughout the Wellington police service area there will be increased drug and alcohol testing.

But Acting Sgt Binotto said it was up to drivers to help eliminate the ‘fatal five’ driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding, fatigue and improper use of seatbelts.

He encouraged motorists to travel smarter, not faster.

“As a whole, as a community, we can reduce the number of lives lost to zero,” he said.

Acting Sgt Binotto urged people travelling during the New Year holiday period to plan their routes with rest breaks included, and reduce driver distractions.

He advised those travelling to holiday destinations to allow extra travel time because of the high volume of traffic travelling though Gippsland.

Police are also urging people to think of their personal property during the festive break.

With theft accounting for the Wellington police service area’s highest offence recorded for 2014-15, police are urging Wellington Shire residents to lock up before they leave for holidays.

In 2014-15 there were 790 thefts, 450 burglary-break and enter offences and 471 property damage offences.

Some theft and burglary cases can be opportunistic, triggered by unlocked cars, house windows left ajar and keys left in plain sight.

Sale police Acting Inspector Geoff Straughen said at this time of the year, there was usually a spike in thefts from cars, particularly at beach resorts.

“Remember when leaving your vehicle parked, to put away any visible items under the seat or secure it in the boot,” he said.

“We know this sort of crime is opportunistic.

“These crimes occur when doors and windows are left unlocked, but thieves will also smash a car window or break locks if they see valuables left in plain sight.”

The Safer Communities Unit has developed a series of crime prevention fact sheets, available for download at www.police.vic.gov.au