POLICE are pleading with motorists to be safe this Easter to ensure it is not a time of tragedy for families.
At the time of writing Victoria’s road toll has soared in 2019 — with 94 deaths already.
That is up a staggering 62 per cent on the 58 killed at the same time last year.
Highway patrol units will be out in force across the region from tomorrow to Monday as part of their respective road safety campaigns.
Operation Nexus in Campaspe Shire and Operation Tortoise in Murray River Council will both focus on the fatal five — speeding, drunk and drug driving, seatbelts, fatigue and distraction.
And with an influx of tourists in the area, the risk of having an accident is even higher, according to Sergeant Paul Nicoll of Campaspe Highway Patrol.
‘‘I think our concern is with the current trend in the high road toll, the chances of us having a fatality in our area is probably much more increased than last year and the percentages have got to indicate that we’ve got to have one eventually,’’ he said.
‘‘The message for people travelling over Easter is to take their time, regular rest breaks and just concentrate because there are a lot more cars on the road.
‘‘I don’t think the roadworks are helping either. People are frustrated after 18 months of roadworks where the traffic is double what it usually is and that creates impatience.’’
While there were no road deaths last Easter, Sgt Nicoll said that was no reason to get complacent.
‘‘The message is just for people to concentrate, be aware of their driving and don’t take unnecessary risks,’’ he said.
Over the bridge in NSW, double demerit points will apply over the long weekend as well as during Anzac Day’s Operation Go Slow which runs from April 24-28.
Murray River Police District Inspector Paul Huggett said intolerance and impatience were no excuse as motorists had to realise it would be busier than usual in the twin towns during holiday periods.
‘‘Tourism brings in the dollar, jobs and traffic so expect delays. If you know this, plan to leave early. And take breath,’’ he said.
Insp. Huggett said road safety was not the sole responsibility of the driver.
‘‘Often there are three or four people in the car and they have a responsibility for their own lives,’’ he said.
‘‘If you see the driver get on their phone or do the wrong thing, speak up and tell them to stop.’’
Insp. Huggett said using mobile phones while driving was rife and challenged anyone to run as fast as they could while texting.
‘‘Yet they think they can do 110km/h with their family in the car while texting or on Facebook or Snapchat,’’ he said.