POLICE are encouraging drivers to take breaks and be patient on the roads this festive period amongst busy holiday road traffic.
Head of Oxley highway patrol, Sergeant Brett Davies said police will be out in force as part of Operation Safe Arrival.
“We want everyone to have a safe and happy festive season and to arrive alive at their destinations.
“The advice for drivers is to drive to the conditions, take breaks when they are needed and be patient with slow-moving holiday traffic,” said Sergeant Davies.
The operation began at midnight on Friday and continues until midnight on New Years day and targets speeding, drink driving and seatbelt offences.
The operation has already resulted in numerous arrests and infringement notices issued across NSW, including a heavy vehicle stopped in Moree on Christmas eve for a severe load-restraint breach. Police inspected the vehicle and discovered the contents of the trailer (two light vehicles and furniture) were not restrained.
The 40-year-old male driver was issued an infringement notice.
In the first four days of the operation 203 people have been injured in 621 crashes across NSW, compared to 158 people injured in 530 crashes during Operation Safe Arrival 2011.
NSW police have also conducted 148,945 breath tests with 231 charges laid.
On Christmas Eve, police caught 717 motorists speeding, down from 856 last year and issued 993 infringements for other traffic offences, down from 1210 last year.
Meanwhile Tamworth emergency specialists are urging the community to take some simple precautions to avoid ending up in the hospital emergency department these holidays.
Tamworth hospital emergency specialist, Dr Steve Doherty said the leading causes of trauma in the holiday period were road accidents, drownings and assaults.
“Tamworth hospital’s emergency department and ED units across our health district witness a rise in road accident victims over the holiday period, with people often driving long distances to reach their holiday destination, or to visit families and friends,” Dr Doherty said.
“It’s important that people slow down and drive to the conditions, take regular breaks when travelling and plan for alternative transport home when drinking so they don’t end up being admitted to the trauma unit.”
Dr Doherty said during the summer holidays people also spend more time around water which can lead to tragedy unless the necessary precautions are taken.
“Drowning is the second most common cause of death in children under the age of 14,” Dr Doherty said.