Thousands nabbed in police road blitz

Police breath test motorists on Peninsula Link at the Bungower Rd off ramp as part of a major operation over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. Picture: Gary Sissons

Police breath test motorists on Peninsula Link at the Bungower Rd off ramp as part of a major operation over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. Picture: Gary Sissons

EXCESSIVE speed and alcohol are suspected to have been behind a serious car crash in Carrum Downs that left two men fighting for their lives in hospital after the car they were travelling in slammed into a telegraph pole last Sunday night.

Police attending the crash scene described the injuries suffered by the 31-year-old driver and his passenger as “shocking”.

The crash occurred on Frankston Gardens Drive in the industrial area of Carrum Downs about 11.40pm when their vehicle veered out of control and crashed into a concrete power pole.

Both men were airlifted to The Alfred hospital where they both remain in a serious condition.

Senior Sergeant Michael Lamb of Frankston police said the men were lucky to be alive and faced “a long recovery”.

Police have requested anyone who saw the incident or a vehicle driving erratically in the area around the time of the crash to contact Senior Constable Delaney at Frankston police on 9784 5555 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

The crash came of the third day of an intensive police road safety operation across Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

Hundreds of penalty notices were issued and more than 20,000 drivers breath tested over the holiday period.

“Thankfully, we got through the long weekend without a fatality on our roads in Frankston, but it could have been at lot worse,” Senior Sergeant Lamb said.

“We caught six drink drivers in Frankston over the weekend, so while we had no fatalities which is great, we had at least six idiots prepared to put themselves, and the rest of us, at risk, driving while impaired by alcohol.”

On Friday night alone, peninsula police conducted more than 4900 preliminary breath tests along Peninsula Link and Mornington Peninsula Freeway, detecting four drunk drivers.

Among those charged were a 21-year-old Mornington man who returned a reading of .072 and was also charged with disqualified driving, a 30-year-old Frankston South woman with a .07 reading, a 65-year-old Mount Martha woman (.062), and a 23-year-old Frankston South woman (.072).

But it wasn’t just drivers affected by alcohol or drugs who were in the spotlight during Operation Wasp, with police also focusing on speeding, mobile phone use, seat belt offences and fatigue-related.

Operation commander highway patrol officer Sergeant Pete Martin said police had mixed feelings about the result.

“It’s fantastic that we have spoken to 4926 drivers and they were all doing the right thing,” he said.

Reacting to online social media comments about the inconvenience caused to thousands of drivers by the police road safety blitz, Senior Sergeant Lamb that the disruption to traffic was necessary in order to get dangerous drivers off the road.

“Disruption to traffic to enforce road safety… that is just life,” he said. “Disruption to put drink drivers off the road is a small price to pay.”

Across the state, more than 8300 traffic offences were detected during Operation Regal, which was a 20 per cent reduction over the same period last year.

More than 128,500 drivers underwent preliminary breath tests, with 267 recording a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit.

Victoria Police road policing commander Superintendent Neville Taylor said that while he was pleased with the overall results, he remained concerned by the high number of drivers detected driving under the influence of drugs.

“Of the 542 road side drug tests conducted by police, 51 returned positive results,” Superintendent Taylor said. “That’s one in every 11 drivers tested which is just not acceptable.

“We’ve seen the catastrophic impact the combination of alcohol and drugs and driving has on the roads and it needs to stop.

“While we are pleased the overall offences have dropped, there are some people in the community who choose to engage in risky and dangerous behaviour, whether speeding or using the mobile phone, and we know this too has deadly consequences.

“One person did lose their life on the road and I really feel for this person’s family and extended community who will be feeling the loss.

“We thank everyone who did the right thing on the road this long weekend, it does make our job a lot easier,” he said.


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