Don’t take risks on roads - double demerits over festive season

DELIVERING bad news about the death of a loved one on our roads isn’t something Peter McMenamin and his colleagues want to do this Christmas.

The region’s acting traffic tactician has pleaded for drivers not to take risks on our roads and to do everything possible to arrive at their destination safely.

His appeal to the public comes just days before NSW police dive into Operation Safe Arrival which will begin at midnight on Friday and run for two weeks.

Acting Inspector McMenamin said the same rules apply during the two-week operation – double demerit points are in place and a heavy police presence on our roads can be expected.

“Our focus will be on safety on our major routes and thoroughfares,” he said. “For us in the western region it will be targeting all the main highways, as well as the smaller country towns and village areas so we can ensure everyone arrive safely and has a happy and safe Christmas.”

He said police would also focus their efforts on catching drink-drivers in the act, and reminded motorists that even general duties patrol cars had mobile breath-testing devices.

“Effectively our main target areas will be drink-driving, fatigue related issues and speeding,” he said. “The three are obviously contributing factors to crashes, coupled with seatbelt compliance, which is another significant issue.

“There will be significant amounts of RBT (random breath-testing) conducted across the state.

“We don’t want to see people that are focused and fixated on getting to where they need to be in an unrealistic timeframe and putting themselves and other road users at risk.

“We hope everyone plans their trips with sufficient breaks and stops every couple of hours to rest and revive.”

Acting Inspector McMenamin said police were trained to look out for the signs of fatigue on our roads and would remain vigilant in doing so.

Drivers not staying in their lane, as well as driving at inconsistent speeds were warning signs to officers, he said.

“If everyone is doing the right thing on the road, it would be a lot better Christmas holiday period for police, and that’s extended to other emergency services as well,” he said.

“The last thing we want to do is be dealing with people who have suffered significant injuries as the result of a crash or deliver the sad news to a family that a loved one has been killed in a crash when they were preparing to celebrate a lovely Christmas together.

“We’ll be looking at all of our intelligence and working out the areas where there’s a high risk of accidents occurring and we’ll be targeting our high traffic areas – where traditionally it’s known lots of people are travelling.

“If people are taking short cuts to get off the main thoroughfare, they can expect us to pop up on those roads as well.”

With 812 motorists charged with drink-driving, and almost 13,000 fined for speeding in last year’s police operation across the state, Acting Inspector McMenamin said he hoped for a drop in the statistics this year.

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