“So far, so good.”
That was the word from Highway Patrol Western Region Inspector Ben Macfarlane as road statistics for the annual festive season road safety operation trend down.
Inspector Macfarlane said figures were down across NSW, as well as in the Western Region, for Operation Safe Arrival.
“We’re down in all the key areas; injury crashes, major crashes and fatalities,” he said.
“I haven’t seen those silly speeds and above-average drink-driving offences, so that’s good.”
But the festive season has been marred with tragedy. In the first week of the roads blitz, two men have died in separate crashes, both after dark.
On Christmas night, a 52-year-old was killed when he was thrown from his car which crashed into a fence and rolled at Tabulum, near Tenterfield.
Another man was killed when his vehicle left the road before crashing into a tree on Coolatai Road, north-east of Moree, last week. The 22-year-old’s car burst into flames and he died at the scene.
On Boxing Day, a 18-year-old woman suffered multiple injuries including a suspected fractured pelvis after a motobrike crash near Kellys Plains, outside of Armidale.
She was airlifted to Tamworth hospital by the region’s Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
A slight change in strategy has seen police more visible on “secondary roads”, “short cuts” and in the villages than in the past, Inspector Macfarlane said.
But he said it was too early to say whether that change was having an impact.
“Overall I’d have to say people appear to be heeding the message about not driving fatigued,” he said.
“We certainly don’t take credit for curbing the road toll; there’s a lot of factors involved.
“We can only do our it. Part of it’s education but by the nature of our job, most of it is enforcement and visibility. But yes, it is pleasing that the message appears to be getting across and people are arriving safely.”
Double demerits are in place for all speeding, mobile phone, seat belt and motorcycle helmet offences until midnight on January 1.