TAKING A STAND: Dareton police Inspector Darren Brand and Mildura police Acting Inspector Daron Hulls will lead a united front next Tuesday, August 27, as they join police across the country in a National Day of Action against rising road trauma figures. Photo: PAUL MENSCH

By VINNIE RODI

POLICE across the country will band together in a show of unity and strength next Tuesday, August 27, as part of a ‘National Day of Action’.

The day has been organised to combat and reduce the increasing road trauma trend on rural and regional roads.

As it currently stands, 12 people have lost their lives across Victoria Police’s Western Division 6, which includes the Mildura and Swan Hill Police Service Areas. Across the State, 182 people have lost their lives on Victoria’s roads.

Across the border in NSW, members are also combating higher than average incidents of serious collisions and fatalities.

It’s a trend that is proving frustrating according to Dareton police Inspector Darren Brand and Mildura police Acting Inspector Daron Hulls.

The pair will lead a joint effort across Sunraysia as part of the National Day of Action, with “a highly visible police presence” to be in effect.

The majority of police resources across Sunraysia, and Australia, will be dedicated to the cause, with the aim to have as many ‘marked’ police vehicles as possible on the road.

“This is all designed to bring people’s attention to how bad the road fatalities have been, and let’s be honest, we’ve had a tough time of it,” Insp. Brand said. “We’re losing too many members of our communities on our roads, and this is about keeping road safety at the forefront of people’s minds.”

Insp. Brand said that speed, fatigue and impaired driving – especially drug-driving – remain the key causes of road trauma.

He said that the level of road trauma being experienced, and motorists’ willingness at times to ignore safety warnings, was a source of frustration for all.

“It’s frustrating not just for the police, but it’s frustrating for the community, it’s frustrating for families and people who are needlessly killed or injured, it’s frustrating for police and emergency services who have to turn up to these sorts of incidents,” Insp. Brand said.

“This is a community issue, and the message is all about getting your family home safe. People seem to have an insular view about driving on our roads, when the reality is that (road trauma) affects so many people and so many parts of our community.

“It has far-reaching consequences…. police are determined to work with the community to make our roads safer.”

Acting Insp. Hulls said police across the country had made a commitment to make a stand as part of the National Day of Action.

“Across Sunraysia, every available member and resource will be allocated to strategic areas… to reassure the community is safe, while targeting impaired, speeding and distracted drivers,” he said.

Acting Insp. Hulls said that the idea behind the National Day of Action had been born out of a July meeting between Deputy and Assistant Commissioners with Road Policing responsibilities from across the country.

“A number of different strategies were put forward, and all jurisdictions agreed to have a National Day of Action,” he said.

Insp. Brand said that while road safety remained at the forefront of police members’ minds, community focus can sometimes shift.

“It’s important to keep this issue front and centre of everyone’s minds, and remind them that every time they get in the car, they’re taking their safety, and others, into their own hands,” he said.

“Having a license is not a right, it’s a privilege… and there is a danger, over time, that some people can get complacent about that privilege.”

Acting Insp. Hulls said that the main focus was ensuring people reach their destinations safely.

“Those not doing the right thing we’ll be caught,” he said.

Insp. Brand said the Day of Action was just one strategy set to be rolled out in the coming weeks and months.

“Road safety has moved from being the domain of solely highway and traffic police to now being a responsibility of all police, and this is because people are dying on our roads,” he said.

“People become cops to make their communities safer, people get involved to detect serious crime – this is happening on our roads.

“Road safety is the responsibility of all police, and this is why this National Day of Action is happening.”