A total of 526 infringement notices were issued across Brimbank by police over the grand final long weekend as part of Operation Scoreboard.

The number, the second highest in the state, was significantly bolstered in a two and a half hour period on the opening day of the operation when police caught 160 drivers using the Greensborough-bound emergency lane on the Western Ring Road at St Albans.

Sergeant Bill Joannidis, of Brimbank Highway Patrol, said the numbers were high, but not surprising.

“We’ve had an ongoing complaint for quite some time regarding people driving in the emergency lane near the Furlong Road exit of the Western Ring Road,” he said.

“We’ve actually run an operation there six or seven times, but the message doesn’t seem to be getting through.

“The first time we did it, I was gobsmacked that so many people were doing it, but we continue to get incredibly high numbers each time.

“Given it’s near an exit with people getting off at Furlong Road, it’s incredibly dangerous and can easily cause an accident.”

Each driver illegally using the emergency lane was issued a penalty notice for $317 and three demerit points.

Police issued a further 18 penalty notices for drivers using mobile phones, driving unlicensed and drink driving.

“We had plain-clothed spotters watching people at the bend and they were able to clearly see people looking down at their phones,” Sgt Joannidis said. “It’s one of the highest injury collision areas in Brimbank … looking at those numbers, we haven’t been able to put a dent in the problem yet. We’ll continue to lift our presence and visibility and increase enforcement along that stretch of road.”

Members issued a further 366 notices – including 10 for drink-drug driving – during Operation Scoreboard, which ran from Thursday, September 28, to Sunday, October 3.

While the numbers were troubling, Sgt Joannidis said there was a silver lining.

“We didn’t have a fatal accident or serious injury in Brimbank over the course of the operation, which is a great result,” he said.