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By Bonny Burrows and Cameron Lucadou-Wells

A man has been allegedly detected speeding at 179 km/h in Cardinia during a major police blitz to counter the high number of lives lost on roads in Melbourne’s south-east.
The P-plater driver was clocked doing almost 80km/h over the speed limit along Ballarto Road during the week-long Operation Prominent, which is due to wrap up Saturday.
Victoria Police Cardinia Police Service Area Local Area Commander Inspector Shane Smith said the driver, who is expected to be charged on summons with driving at dangerous speed, failing to display P plates and driving a prohibited probationary vehicle, was a prime example of the kind of motorist police were targeting during the operation.
The operation is running across Cardinia Shire, Greater Dandenong and the City of Casey and has seen boosted police presence on the roads in a bid to change driver behaviour.
“We’ve have 18 fatalities this year for this division (Division 3) as of Sunday,” the Inspector Smith said.
“This is the highest in the state and is simply not good enough.”
In its first days, the operation has netted three drink drivers, four drug drivers and 15 unlicensed and disqualified drivers.
Officers have also detected 157 speeding drivers, including a male P-plate driver allegedly travelling at 179 km/h in a 100km/h zone on Ballarto Road, Cardinia, about 4.58pm on 14 August.
A female driver was also fined $595 and issued with six demerit points when caught speeding at 110km/h in a 70 km/h zone on Beaconsfield-Emerald Road, Dewhurst about 5pm on 12 August.
During the operation, police booked four drivers illegally using a mobile phone, four not wearing seat belts and 18 unregistered vehicles.
In the region, 18 people have died on the road this year – the highest of any police division in Victoria.
Eleven of those fatalities could be attributed to poor decision making and driver behaviour, police southern metro region division 3’s Inspector Tom Nairn said.
“People in this area are making a choice to drive whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they’re making a choice to speed or drive when they’re not authorised to do so.
“Tragically these choices can result in people losing their lives and leaving families and friends without their loved ones.”
The operation comes in the wake of a tragic two-car crash outside Lighthouse Christian College in Cranbourne East on 11 August in which a mother and her teenage daughter were killed.
On 6 August, a man died after his car struck a tree on Gladstone Road, Dandenong North, and on 13 August a cyclist died in Yannathan after losing control and veering into an oncoming vehicle.
Inspector Smith said there would be no warnings given to those who were breaking the law.
“If you commit an offence, you will be charged,” Inspector Smith said.

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