Victoria Police is highlighting the devastating impacts of road trauma as part of a new safety campaign this Christmas.
In a two-part video series, families and friends share precious memories of loved ones they’ve lost and detail the heartache of spending Christmas without them.
Families are pictured with a special Christmas bauble inscribed with their loved one’s name and age in their honour. Each bauble has been placed on a Christmas tree erected in the Victoria Police Centre foyer, with 226 baubles representing the 226 lives lost on the roads so far this year.
Despite spending much of this year in lockdown, Victoria has already surpassed the number of lives lost on Victorian roads in 2020 when 211 deaths were recorded.
With a busy festive period anticipated on the roads, Victoria Police has today launched Operation Roadwise, a statewide road policing effort targeting high-risk driving behaviour over the Christmas period.
Police will be out patrolling major arterials and highways to detect dangerous drivers and reduce road trauma.
There will be a focus on impaired driving and motorists can expect to see Victoria Police’s fleet of Alcohol and Drug Testing vehicles checking motorists at high-risk locations. Motorists enjoying end-of-year celebrations are urged to think twice before consuming alcohol or drugs and getting behind the wheel.
Operation Roadwise will also see police targeting speeding drivers. Last year more than 6200 speeding offences were detected over the Christmas and New Year’s period.
There were 10 lives lost between 18 December 2020 and 6 January this year.
Operation Roadwise will involve all available personnel across Victoria Police including regional Highway Patrols, State Highway Patrol, the Heavy Vehicle Unit, Road Policing Drug and Alcohol Section and Public Order Response Team.
The operation commences at 12:01am on Friday 17 December and concludes at 23:59pm on Sunday 26 December.
Police enforcement will continue throughout the New Years period, with a localised focus particularly in coastal locations and holiday hot spots.
For more information and tips for staying safe on the roads during the festive period, visit the Road Safety page on the Victoria Police website.
Quotes attributable to Assistant Commissioner Road Policing, Glenn Weir:
“For most of us, this is an exciting time of year with holidays fast approaching and festive cheer in full swing.
“But for the families of the 226 people who are honoured with this Christmas tree it’s a sobering reminder that their loved one will not be with them.
“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. It’s up to all of us to ensure we reach our destination safely.
“While we’re asking everyone to slow down, not drink or take drugs and drive, and avoid distractions like mobile phones – rest assured police will also be doing our bit and ramping up enforcement on Victorian roads.
“Please, drive safely. We don’t want to see any more names added to this Christmas tree.”