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Wimmera police warning: Stay alert, stay sober, stay alive


The Victorian road toll shows 10 people have died on Wimmera roads in 2016, with a further 74 suffering serious injury from road trauma.
What it does not show is the devastation felt by families and friends, the ongoing grief, the empty place at the Christmas table and the lingering question: could this tragedy have been avoided?
Wimmera road safety and crime prevention advisor Acting Senior Sergeant Di Thomson has implored the region’s drivers to look out for themselves and each other during the busy Christmas-New Year period.
“We talk about statistics a lot, but at the end of the day, these are people,” she said.
“Everyone’s lives are adjusted when there is a death or serious injury from a road incident.
“That legacy – remembered every Christmas from that year on – is tragic. It sends a shiver down your spine.”
Acting Snr Sgt Thomson said police had identified five primary causes of road fatalities and serious injuries: Excessive speed, driver distraction, not having correct restraints in place, fatigue and impaired driving.
“We generally find one or more of these have contributed,” she said.
“If you know you’re going to drink, don’t drive. If you have a mobile phone, turn it off. Or even better, put it in the glovebox.
“If you are driving you should be concentrating on driving the car, nothing else. Nothing is as important as arriving alive. No one wants to spend their holidays visiting loved ones in hospital or worse, arranging funerals.”
Acting Snr Sgt Thomson said it was important drivers adapted to conditions, particularly if they were unfamiliar with roads.
“One of the recent fatalities in the region happened because a driver didn’t see the give-way sign. It simply came down to not knowing the environment,” she said.
“Each case is different. My point is, you just never know.
“We’re all doing 100kmh on the highway.
“In the city, it might just be a fender bender but when two cars travelling 100kmh on a highway collide, the velocity is almighty.”
Acting Snr Sgt Thomson said road trauma also affected emergency service workers.
“Police, ambulance, State Emergency Service – they all have to deal with what they have seen, day in, day out,” she said. “Our first responders not only have to deal with road trauma, they also have to do the death notification to family. Police will spend a lot time on the road away from their family and friends during the festive season to try to ensure people get where they are going safely.”
Operation Roadwise
Victoria Police launched Operation Roadwise on Friday.
The 24-day operation targets dangerous driving, drug-driving and irresponsible behavior.
Acting Snr Sgt Thomson said police would employ a highly visible and mobile presence to encourage safe driving.
“The most effective safety system in the car is the driver,” she said.
“We know if we can deter people from taking the risks in the first place, or alternatively get them off the road before high-traffic periods, we can save lives, which is what this operation is all about.
“Stay alert, stay sober, stay within the limit and stay alive.”
Acting Snr Sgt Thomson said everyone had a role to play to reduce road trauma.
“The police will be out and about doing their part to try to ensure every road user arrives home to their family safely,” she said.
“It is up to the community to do their part.”

The entire December 21, 2016 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Dec 21 2016

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