Police going distance during Operation Furlong

Police are urging motorists to take extra care on Victoria’s roads and avoid travelling to flood-affected regions, as a statewide road policing effort is launched for the Melbourne Cup long weekend.

Operation Furlong will see police highly visible on major arterials and freeways in an effort to reduce road trauma over the long weekend period.

Whilst police are preparing for motorists to travel to popular holiday destinations across the state, all Victorians are being urged to plan ahead, take extra care on the roads, and avoid travelling to regions currently impacted by flooding.

With parts of the state still subject to damaged roads and closures, motorists should monitor the conditions and check the VicTraffic and VicEmergency apps for the latest updates prior to travelling.

The warning comes as Victoria has recorded 205 lives lost in 2022 – 24 higher than 2021 (181) and trending well above the five-year average of 188.

Operation Furlong marks the start of a particularly high-risk period on Victorian roads, which last year saw 48 lives lost in 61 days during November and December.

Police will focus on enforcing speed, with a particular focus on rural roads as more than 60 per cent of fatalities last November and December occurred in regional areas.

With thousands of punters expected to attend the Melbourne Cup and other events over the weekend, police will conduct extensive alcohol and drug testing, with impaired driving also cited as a contributing factor to fatal collisions in November and December last year.

Vulnerable road users will also remain a focus, with significant spikes in motorcycle fatalities (46) and pedestrian deaths (38) this year.

During an eight-day road policing operation over the Melbourne Cup period in 2021, police detected almost 3,900 speeding offences and 523 drink and drug driving offences, with over 80,000 tests conducted.

Operation Furlong will run statewide from 12:01am Friday 28 October to 11:15pm Tuesday 1 November.

For more information and tips for staying safe on the roads this long weekend, visit the Road Safety page on the Victoria Police website.

Quotes attributable to Assistant Commissioner Road Policing, Glenn Weir:

“We’re anticipating many people will take the Monday off and make the most of the Melbourne Cup long weekend this year.

“There are still parts of the state which are subject to flooding – we’re asking all motorists to please heed the warnings, avoid travelling to flood-affected areas and never attempt to drive through flood waters – it could be the last thing you ever do.

“All the emergency services are working hard to respond to the floods, but we don’t want to be diverting resources to rescue people that have ignored the warnings and deliberately entered flood waters in their vehicles.

“In addition to this situation, we’re about to enter an incredibly high-risk period on our roads that saw 48 lives lost in 61 days last year – this is extremely concerning to us.

“We’ll be doing everything we can, but with police resources also supporting the flood efforts, we need people to take responsibility for their own actions on the roads more than ever.

“If you’re heading along to the Melbourne Cup, please plan ahead and take advantage of public transport. There’s no excuse for driving impaired, and we’ll be conducting alcohol and drug testing at every opportunity.

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