At the half way mark of the statewide roads Operation Safe Arrival – that highway blitz from police that comes around about the same time as Santa each year – there was some optimism that drivers had been a bit better behaved than in previous years.
Although the fatality rate for NSW is tragic – and obviously doubly traumatic for family and friends involved – it stood at seven just after 6pm last night, and the national tally was at 25.
The NSW tally was at about half the previous year – but the national tally is the same at the same halfway mark, so what that tells us is that less have died on our state roads, but more have died on others.
But NSW police have warned that while there has been a drop in the numbers of road incidents so far – compared to the same period last
year – they are bracing for more vehicle deaths as more motorists make their way home from the Christmas break and others set off for a New Year’s holiday drive.
The traffic conditions for plenty of the major coastline routes from Sydney, both north and south, have obviously contributed to the road landscape we see this year but the analysts will have some differing pictures from that.
For the past two days continuing updates have shown heavy northbound holiday traffic on the
Pacific Highway with bottlenecks at Kempsey and Macksville. At one stage, the queue through Kempsey was about 25km long, although it periodically dropped, and at Macksville vehicles were queued back 5km and 6 km at Bulahdelah.
Southbound from Sydney, there were more long queues along the Princes Highway at various points like Berry and Milton.
The traffic flow along the New England was steady but not nearly as bad. In the New England area, there had been 332 breath tests and 28 infringement notices to the half way point of Operation Safe Arrival. The figures are not in for Oxley, centred on the Tamworth city area, but they often tend to be more substantial in number.
In our western region police had conducted 3273 random breath tests and issued 179 traffic infringement notices, including 88 for speeding, up to day seven of the operation.
It’s double demerits as well, so apart from the fine you cop you’re getting a double hit on the points you have to lose from holding your licence.
It doesn’t seem to worry some, obviously.