POLICE are urging motorists to not take a punt with their lives as the Melbourne Cup public holiday fast approaches.

Victoria Police will begin a Statewide road policing operation, titled ‘Furlong’, tomorrow (Friday, November 3), which will see members out in force until Tuesday, November 7.

The operation will focus on drink and drug driving, speed, distraction, fatigue and seatbelt use.

Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner, Doug Fryer, said there would be a visible police presence on both metropolitan and regional roads to reduce road crashes and trauma.

“We know there are a lot of people who take this opportunity to get out of the city, as well as punters heading to race days across the State,” he said. “This means there will be a lot of people on the road, often travelling long distances to locations which are unfamiliar.

“This time last year we had three road fatalities. That’s three families who will mourn the loss of their loved ones this weekend.

“Last year police also detected a total of 599 drink and drug driving offences. On top of this, we also detected more than 3500 people speeding, 659 people using their mobile phones and 376 seat belt offences were recorded.

“This behaviour is simply not acceptable, and police don’t want to see this repeated again this year.

“Booze and drug buses will be deployed throughout the State where our members will be testing as many motorists and riders as possible – so the simple message is if you are going to drink or use drugs, separate these behaviours from driving.

“Police aren’t here to spoil the fun, we’re here to make sure everyone makes it home safely to their families this long weekend.

“Our message to everyone over the long weekend is slow down, turn off your mobile phone, put your seatbelt on, take regular breaks on long journeys and don’t drive after drinking or taking drugs.

“We don’t want to see anyone gambling with their life this long weekend.”

Operation Furlong will commence at 12.01am Friday, November 3, and conclude at 11.59pm next Tuesday, November 7.