Op Saturn: drug drivers nabbed

Members from Pakenham Police Station were monitoring speed in Cockatoo and Pakenham as part of Operation Saturn. Pictures: VICTORIA POLICE

By Mitchell Clarke

Sixteen drug affected and four alcohol affected drivers were nabbed across the Cardinia Shire over the Grand Final long weekend, despite Victoria Police warning they’d be out in force to combat a rising road toll.

Operation Saturn, which began on Thursday 22 October, aims to prevent further road trauma caused by dangerous driving in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

But tragically, a 53-year-old Drouin woman was killed in a horror crash near Ballarat at about 3.10pm on Saturday 24 October.

Investigators believe her car, which was stopped in the right-hand running lane of the Western highway, was struck by an oncoming vehicle.

Her passenger, a 70-year-old Drouin man, was out of the vehicle when the crash occurred and was uninjured.

The tragic death follows a string of recent fatalities, including a young motorist, who was killed in Narre Warren East, near Cardinia Reservoir.

Investigators believe a silver Subaru collided with a white Landcruiser at the intersection of Cardinia Creek Road and Wellington Road, at about 4.20pm on Monday 19 October.

The driver and sole occupant of the Subaru, a 19-year-old Cranbourne man, died at the scene.

The sole occupant of the Landcruiser, a 50-year-old Gembrook man, was transported to hospital for observation.

As of Monday 26 October, 181 people had lost their lives on Victorian roads, prompting police to launch Operation Saturn ahead of the Grand Final and Melbourne Cup long weekends.

Road Policing Command assistant commissioner Libby Murphy said it was expected the road toll would increase as more people return to the roads.

“We’re urging everyone to go back to basics. That means buckling up, slowing down, and not driving while impaired,” A/C Murphy said.

“Operation Saturn comes at a critical time for the Victorian community, with easing of some restrictions coinciding with two long weekends.”

A/C Murphy said local police and highway patrol would be undertaking patrols across metropolitan Melbourne to ensure compliance on local roads, as well as the safety of vulnerable road users.

“For those in metro Melbourne, it’s the first time in a while we’ve been able to move further than 5km from home,” she said.

“Be patient, exercise caution and drive slowly to ensure that you keep yourself and other road users safe.

“Expect to see vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists around populated areas like parks and beaches and drive accordingly.

“We have worked so hard to get to this position and now need to protect each other on the road.”

Operation Saturn began at 12.01am on Thursday 22 October and will run until 11.59pm on Sunday 8 November.