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Victoria Police shifts focus to heavy vehicle operators 

Heavy vehicles will be made a focal point of emphasis by Victoria Police due to the potential to cause more serious road collisions 

Victoria Police road policing assistant commissioner Glenn Weir says there is a specific focus on holding the heavy vehicle industry accountable for speeding and drunk or drugged driving as the state’s road toll soars. 

Victoria and New South Wales Police finished a joint venture policing the Hume Freeway on Thursday night, dubbed Operation Hamilton in Victoria and Operation Furious in NSW. 

The four-day operation commenced on Monday, June 17 with the aim of helping reduce road trauma on the over 600km Hume Freeway stretch across both states. 

In 2023 Operation Hamilton intercepted 200 vehicles and detected 35 speeding offences, seven unregistered vehicles, three unlicenced drivers, impounded seven vehicles and issued seven defect notices. 

Full statistics for this year’s operations in both states are unavailable at the time of writing. 

“We have a particular focus on the heavy vehicle industry,” Weir says. 

“Not because we are seeing higher levels of harm than in the general motoring public, but [because] the risk is significantly greater. 

“Most heavy vehicle companies are cooperative and do the right thing, but we will be on the lookout for road operators and people who don’t comply, particularly in relation to fatigue and breaches in national heavy vehicle legislation. 

“New South Wales Police and Victoria Police are committed to providing a safe corridor for people to transit up and down the east coast of Australia, but the onus is on the driver. 

“We’re there to help, we’re there to protect, but we want people to take responsibility for their own actions to make both states really safe.” 

Speaking just 24 hours into the four-day operation, New South Wales Police assistant commissioner Brett McFadden stated three serious incidents that had already occurred since the commencement of Operation Furious. 

A driver near Mittagong was clocked at driving at 191 km/h, while a pair of street racers travelling at over 200 km/h will face court. 

“These are the things that kill motorists, these are the things that cause so much harm to come to families and trauma to come to families, and we’re holding drivers accountable for it,” McFadden says. 

“It’s disappointing to say in 24 hours here on the New South Wales side (of the Hume) 104 drivers were detected speeding. 

“Speed, alcohol and drugs are a real challenge in our communities and the harm that is being caused on our roads needs to stop. 

“It’s the drivers that need to address this.” 

2023 represented the highest road death toll in Victoria in 15 years, and although the number of deaths is currently reduced compared to this time last year, Weir says the danger is at an equal level to 12 months ago. 

295 people died on Victorian roads last year alone, and Weir says there has been a seven per cent reduction, despite having a similar number of crashes. 

That comparable crash number, he says, is a definite cause for concern. 

Last year was a horror year on our roads where we had 295 people killed – the worst in 15 years. While this year we’re about seven per cent down, we’ve had the same number of crashes, just not the same number of deaths,” Weir says. 

“Last year we had a really significant number particularly in this part of the world of multiple death collisions, we haven’t had that this year, but people shouldn’t sit back, relax and think the road toll is down on last year because the actual number of collisions is about the same, so the driving behaviour and the risk is still really present. 

“People can’t afford to relax. The risk is still there. 

“We’ve been staggered to see the growth in reckless behaviour since the end of the pandemic, particularly in response to alcohol and driving.  

“You need to separate the two activities, but we are really disappointed at the amount of people we see who are continually continuing to drive while they have consumed alcohol.  

“You need to have a good, long, hard look at yourself, everyone driving a vehicle needs to have a social contract with each other, and just think about what you’re going to do and take responsibility for your actions.” 

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