Don't be tempted to drink and drive: cops

TAMWORTH Highway Patrol are adopting a "no excuses" approach when it comes to driving offences during the Country Music Festival.

Extra patrol cars have been brought into the city from country police stations across the region and they say they'll be out in force for the duration of the event.

Senior officers have told The Leader seven highway patrol cars and a police motorcycle will be tasked in Tamworth over the 10 days of festivities.

But it doesn't end there, additional crews will be patrolling  country roads across the region as visitors arrive and leave the city.

The festival operation appeared to have got off to a positive start today with no drink-drivers reported in the early hours of this morning.

However a man was given a notice to attend court in February for the offence of driving while disqualified.

Tamworth Highway Patrol Sergeant Brett Davies said while drink-driving and road safety were the obvious targets for officers, they would also be turning their attention to festival goers driving around road blocks without permits.

"We'll be given plenty of excuses, there's no doubt about that but we've heard them all before and sometimes we get sick and tired of hearing the same excuse," Sergeant Davies said.

"We'll be monitoring the road closures and actively targeting those areas where access is only allowed via a council permit and we will be enforcing those restrictions.

"People illegally driving in those areas and not carrying a permit will be dealt with via infringement notices."

Sgt Davies said motorists could expect to be fined $232 and lose two demerit points for the offence.

"The issue is, there's plenty of signage there," he said. "Council have continued over the years to shut that area down and want it enforced so we'll enforce it."

He said closed off areas of the CBD were of the biggest concern to police and people caught abusing their permits for the purpose of short cuts would also be dealt with by officers.

Sgt Davies said the festival highway patrol crews would also cover the "whole blanket area of Tamworth" including the Kootingal, Moonbi, Manilla, and Winton areas.

"What we're trying to do is protect against serious injury collisions, but unfortunately at this time of the year, the risk factor is alcohol related crashes," he said. "RBT (Random breath testing) will be tasked accordingly with a mixture of high profile and targeted activity on our arterial roads and high speed areas.

"What we want to do is stop anyone, who may be impaired by alcohol, and get them out of the 100km/h areas."

He said he hoped motorists would act responsibly and take advantage of the bus services available as a safe way of getting home. 

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