22 May, 2024
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Police launch road blitz as toll jumps to 16-year high


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At least 140 people have been killed on Victorian roads this year, marking a 16-year high as police urge drivers to take extra care over the King’s Birthday long weekend.

Police will ramp up road safety efforts across the state from Friday in an attempt to reduce road trauma after the number of lives lost surged by 35 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Excessive speed and distracted driving have been blamed after nearly 30 people were killed on Victorian roads in May alone, more than double the same month last year.

Since January, there have been 111 single-vehicle fatalities, eight double fatalities, two quadruple fatalities and one quintuple fatality, compared with 101 single-vehicle fatalities and only one double fatality at this time last year.

Passenger deaths have surged 255 per cent to 32 from nine this time in 2022, while driver fatalities have increased 56 per cent to 69 from 44 last year.

Police say other contributing factors to the alarming increase include seatbelt non-compliance, disobeying traffic signs and unauthorised driving, which includes being suspended, disqualified or unlicensed.

This will be a key focus as officers kick off a road safety blitz known as Operation Regal across major roads and highways this long weekend, which has been identified as a high-risk period on state roads.

“Long weekends are historically high-risk on our roads, and the King’s Birthday long weekend can present additional challenges,” acting assistant commissioner of road policing Martin O’Brien said.

“Wintry weather can increase the likelihood of a collision, with slippery roads and poor visibility.”

Police issued more than 5000 infringement notices during a similar operation last year.

More than 40 per cent were motorists caught speeding, and 372 were busted for drink- and drug-driving offences.


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