Tuesday, 18 December 2018 13:46

Victoria Police is honouring the memory of the 199 people who have lost their lives on the state’s roads this year with a Christmas tree featuring baubles inscribed with their first names and ages.

In what has become an annual tradition, police have once again put up the tree as a symbol of the human cost of lives lost on our roads.

Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane said the baubles were a poignant reminder that behind the statistics of road trauma are real people.

“Everyone who loses their life on our roads is missed by someone, and each of these baubles represents a person who was special to those who knew and loved them.

“It’s a reminder that lives lost on our roads is not about numbers – it’s about families losing cherished members.

“Behind each of these baubles is a story of a family that is grieving for a mum, dad, brother, sister, son or daughter who won’t be coming home this Christmas.

The unveiling of the tree comes as police prepare to launch their annual operation to keep people safe on our roads over the Christmas, New Year and summer holiday period.

Operation Roadwise will run from 14 December to 6 January, and will focus on enforcement and improving driver behaviour.

Police will be out in force to target the five leading causes of death and serious injury on our roads – speed, impairment, distraction, not wearing seatbelts and fatigue.

Assistant Commissioner Leane said that in the run up to Christmas, police would have a particular focus on drink and drug driving.

“Many people will be attending parties and other events to celebrate the end of the year, so if you are going to have a few drinks, then make sure you’ve planned how to get home without driving.

“Alcohol and drug buses will be operating throughout the state and our officers will be testing as many motorists and riders as possible to get those who are impaired off our roads.”

With a higher number of pedestrians expected, especially around shopping precincts, police are reminding everyone using the roads to look up and look out for each other.

People who are heading away for a break after Christmas are also being reminded of the risk of fatigue.

“As well as sticking to the speed limit and driving to the conditions, drivers should take regular breaks and, where possible, share the driving,” said Assistant Commissioner Leane.

“All we want for Christmas is for everyone to get to where they’re going and get home again safely.”

Operation Roadwise starts at 00.01am tomorrow and runs until 23.59 on 6 January, 2019.

The ‘Lives Lost’ Christmas tree is available for viewing in the corporate reception area of the Victoria Police Centre at 637 Flinders Street, Docklands, until Operation Roadwise ends.

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