Northern Rivers has worst road toll north from Newcastle

MORE road deaths have occurred in the Richmond police Local Area Command for the last three years to date than any of the 12 other regions along the east coast from Newcastle to Tweed Heads.

As of yesterday afternoon, this figure sat at 11 road deaths and nine crashes since January in the Richmond LAC - which covers the Ballina, Evans Head, Lismore, Kyogle and Casino council areas.

Highway patrol cluster supervisor sergeant Chad George, who covers both the Richmond and Tweed/Byron commands, said the biggest contributing factors in the Richmond LAC were speeding and not driving to conditions.

He said the statistics were most likely a combination of visiting drivers who were unfamiliar with the area and local drivers who had become complacent.

For the Tweed/Byron area, Sgt George said alcohol related crashes were the biggest issue.

"The main issue for Tweed/Byron area are alcohol related crashes where alcohol continues to be a problem," he said.

The Tweed/Byron LAC has had the third highest number of road deaths to date over the past two years, with seven deaths this year and eight last year, increased from just five deaths in 2012.

Despite having the worst statistics in the Northern Region, the number of roads deaths in the Richmond LAC has decreased over the past three years from 15 deaths in 2012 to 12 in 2013 and 11 deaths this year.

The figures are in line with national statistics that have revealed a record breaking low in Australian road deaths for the last 12 months.

The statistics, from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, show a 9% reduction in road deaths nationally, bringing the fatality rate below five deaths per 100,000 for the first time.

Sgt George said the drop in road deaths in Richmond and Tweed/Byron was largely due to police operations aimed at increasing visibility to help lower road tolls.

"We're continually striving to have no deaths on our roads but, until then, if we can reduce it even by one that's a win," he said.

Operation Saturation 2, which kicks off this week across the Richmond and Tweed/Byron commands, involves an increased police presence at common crash sites and will target speeding, drink-driving, illegal mobile phone use and seatbelt offences.

Topics:  road toll

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