Drivers pushing the limit

THREE men who ran the gauntlet have been charged with high- or mid- range drink driving during a weekend traffic blitz.

Local police are dismayed at the offences that occurred in just a six-hour period across Tamworth and Gunnedah despite the high visibility operation.

Already, the Western Region recorded its first fatality with a 21-year-old man killed on Warrumbungles Way at Binnaway after he was thrown from the vehicle when it crashed.

The bad news comes on the back of close to 50 speeding tickets handed out across Oxley in just two days while almost 40 motorists were booked for other offences and four for not wearing seatbelts.

“The message isn’t really being received by the general public at the moment,” Senior Sergeant Peter McMenamin told The Leader yesterday.

It started at about 6.30pm on Saturday when a 39-year-old Kootingal man was stopped by police in Nemingha. 

“He returned a positive result and was arrested and a breath analysis was conducted and he recorded 0.163 and was subsequently charged and bail refused,” Senior Sergeant McMenamin said.

The man had his licence suspended before he was granted conditional bail in Tamworth Bail Court yesterday.

About 11pm the same night a 24-year-old man was stopped on Salander Drive before he was tested and arrested, recording  0.148.

Just two hours later patrolling police stopped a 52-year-old local man in Gunnedah when he allegedly blew 0.150.

Both men lost their licences on the spot and have been given a date to front court.

And despite the warnings, motorists are still pushing the limits to speed on local roads.

“It causes significant impacts on their points status, but the over 30 km per hour also extends to the loss of their licence as well as loss of points which could also extend to a further loss of their licence,” Senior Sergeant McMenamin said.

Thirty six drivers were booked in two days for speeding in the New England Command while Barwon nabbed 21 with almost 40 other tickets handed out for infringements such as talking on mobile phones.

“In itself that’s a significant issue because it takes the driver’s attention away from what they’re doing,” he said.

“That little bit of inattentiveness can cause a crash and kill one of your loved ones or someone else.”

“Drivers just need to be aware of where they are, what the speed limit is and what they are travelling at.”

Operation Stay Alert wraps up at midnight tonight ((MON)).