ON every shift in the past three months Wodonga highway patrol officers have found someone driving with alcohol or drugs in their system.
The statistics are the result of a $20,000 Transport and Accident Commission-funded operation that ended on Friday which allowed seven highway patrol officers to work extra shifts to detect offences.
Police checked an extra 520 cars for the three months with 16 drink-drivers and 12 drug-drivers detected — one for every shift worked.
“They’re the people we want off the road,” Leading Sen-Constable Mal Burdett said.
“It’s disappointing the community aren’t adhering to the warnings of not to be drinking or drug-driving.”
Thirteen drivers were caught speeding, 10 were disqualified or unlicensed drivers, seven were fined for using mobile phones and 30 defect notices for unroadworthy cars were issued.
Sen-Constable Burdett said the operation would not have gone ahead without the TAC and the unit would seek to apply for further funding.
The funding is part of TAC’s Enhanced Enforcement Program that assists Victoria Police to reduce road trauma.
Funding is granted for operations during peak holiday periods and to regions where there are more crashes.
TAC spokeswoman Emily Bogue said in the case of Wodonga, funding was granted because police identified high-risk behaviour.
“This provides resources to target issues at the local level, at times and in locations known to police to be related to poor driving behaviour and road trauma,” she said.
Road trauma costs Victoria more than $4 billion per year including $1 billion in TAC support services and benefits for people injured in the past financial year.
TAC claim data shows an average lifetime costs of $5.5 million for quadriplegia and $1.4 million for paraplegia.
“But there are many factors that are not measured by cost, including the emotional impact on the person as they adjust to life with their injuries and the effect on their family and friends,” Ms Bogue said.