Police conducted 5500 breath and drug tests on drivers across the Richmond and Tweed/Byron Local Area Commands at the weekend.
Police conducted 5500 breath and drug tests on drivers across the Richmond and Tweed/Byron Local Area Commands at the weekend. Trevor Veale

1400 drivers tested on Pacific Hwy in six hours

NEARLY 1400 drivers were tested for drugs and alcohol in six hours on the Pacific Highway on Saturday night as part of the statewide Operation Drink Drive II at the weekend.

Highway patrol supervisor, Senior Sergeant Chad George said the large scale blitz on the southbound lanes near Tweed Heads netted 14 drivers who blew over the limit and five who tested positive for illicit drugs.

About 41 infringement notices were issued and seven other charges such as driving while disqualified were laid.

Snr Sgt George said the detection rate on Saturday was higher than usual and said it should be " a concern for everybody" that 19 drivers were found to be driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Across the state, 56 drink-driving charges were laid on Saturday after 63,236 breath tests were conducted throughout NSW. This result is 43 less than the same period last year.

Over the three-day operation that ran from Friday to Sunday, 5500 motorists were subject to roadside testing across the Richmond and Tweed/Byron Local Area Commands.

Of that number, 32 blew over the legal alcohol limit and another 32 tested positive for illicit drugs.

Snr Sgt George said the numbers were "pretty steady" in comparison to previous operations with the most recent numbers equating to one in every 172 testing positive for alcohol.

He commended his team of about 30 highway patrol officers who were scattered across both commands during the operation.

But he said there is more work to do with detection rates in Byron Bay ranked the highest in the state earlier this year.

While a Byron Shire council has said the infamous ranking was due to the millions of holiday-goers that frequent the shire, Snr Sgt George said the statistics reveal residents are caught out just as much as visitors.

Snr Sgt George said highway patrol officers would be out in force in the coming weeks leading up to the Christmas and New Year holiday periods.



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