Mildura police Traffic Advisor, Senior Sergeant Daron Hulls

By VINNIE RODI

POLICE on both sides of the border have issued a stern warning to motorists ahead of this Queen’s Birthday long weekend – choose to do the wrong thing behind the wheel, and you will be caught.

Operational Regal (Victoria) and Operation Stay Alert (NSW) are already in effect across both States, and will continue until 11.59pm on Monday, June 10.

Both police operations will see an increased police presence on our roads, with the focus on speeding, drink and drug driving, distraction and fatigue.

For Mildura police, Operation Regal will see local members once again try to enforce a safety-first message, one that, unfortunately, is failing to get through to drivers, despite constant warnings from police, and a rising local road toll.

Eleven people have lost their lives on Mildura’s roads this year – nine more than this time last year.

Mildura police Traffic Advisor, Senior Sergeant Daron Hulls, said that local members remain frustrated and disappointed with the high number of drivers being caught either speeding, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“The fact that we are continuing to intercept drivers travelling at incredibly high speeds is worrying and frustrating,” he said. “Not to mention the number of people continuing to drive with drugs and alcohol in their system.

“This past Monday evening a male was arrested in relation to a theft of a motor car in Red Cliffs, and was brought back to Mildura Police Station.

“As part of our investigation, we performed a preliminary breath test, with the man in question recording a reading around .226.

“Quite frankly enough is enough. Police want to be proactive, and we will be on the front foot, because the safety of all road users is our number one priority. We want people travelling by road to reach their destinations safely.”

Snr Sgt Hulls said that some motorists still failed to understand how alcohol and drugs can affect reflexes and judgement while behind the wheel.

“You don’t have to be drunk to be over the limit, and you certainly can’t judge your blood-alcohol level by how you feel,” he said. 

“At a blood-alcohol level of 0.05 to 0.08, your ability to judge distances is reduced, reactions are slower and concentration span is shorter.

“At 0.08, drivers are five times more likely to have an accident than before they started drinking.

“We are conducting random breath tests at all times of day and night – on main roads and the back roads. Sometimes you’ll know we’re there, sometimes you won’t.

“Since 2013, the number of drivers who have lost their lives on the roads each year with an illicit substance in their system is greater than those who have lost their lives with alcohol.

“Police activity to intercept those driving with drugs and alcohol in their system, and those travelling at high speeds, will continue after Operation Regal comes to an end.”

Snr Sgt Hulls also had a warning for those planning on visiting areas foreign to them – drive to conditions.

“We see it all the time with people travelling to our region from the city,” he said. 

“They’re not used to the higher speeds allowed on country roads, or the presence of wildlife.

“It’s important to drive to conditions to ensure that you get to your destination safely.”

Those choosing to travel in NSW are also being reminded of the new laws regarding drink driving, where low range offences now incur an immediate loss of licence.