Seven people lost their lives on NSW roads during Operation Safe Arrival this festive season.
Seven people lost their lives on NSW roads during Operation Safe Arrival this festive season. Trevor Veale

Bad road behaviour has 'significant' impact on families

TWO men lost their lives on local roads over the Christmas and New Year period.

And while police have welcomed a drop in fatalities across NSW over the Christmas/ New Year period, they say the figure's still too high.

Seven lives were lost on NSW roads during Operation Safe Arrival, including a man in his 20s who died on the Bruxner Highway at Casino on New Year's Day and another man, 52, who was killed in a crash as Tabulam on Christmas night.

While there were 28 fewer fatalities between December 21 and Tuesday night than the same period last year, Northern Region Highway Patrol Chief Inspector Peter McMenamin said these fatalities were still seven too many.

"Seven (fatalities) is obviously very disappointing for us but it's very significant for the families of everyone involved in those particular crashes," Insp McMenamin said.

Insp McMenamin said while some statistics were "fairly poor", police welcomed a broad reduction in the number of crashes and injuries on our roads.

Unrestrained children and drink-drivers have also marred the festive road statistics for the Northern Rivers.

Police conducted 18,768 breath tests and issued 322 speeding infringements, 70 restraint tickets and 597 other tickets in the the Northern Borders Highway Patrol area during that time.

Meanwhile, police will allege a 21-year-old man on a P2 licence was caught travelling at 170km/h in a 100km/h zone on the Bruxner Highway late on Sunday night.

Another man, 28, who had recently been released from custody and was disqualified from driving was found behind the wheel of a stolen car on December 23.

The same evening, police found three children unrestrained in a vehicle when the disqualified driver, a 35-year-old Coraki woman, was stopped for a breath test at Ruthven.

The woman was already disqualified from driving until April, 2024 and had been declared a habitual traffic offender. She was charged with driving while disqualified and given three infringements for the unrestrained passengers.

Two drivers who collided in Clifford St at Suffolk Park on the night of December 22 and returned mid-range readings will face court later this month.

Another driver allegedly returned a breath analysis reading of 0.202 after nearly causing a crash on the Bruxner Highway at Mummulgum on December 21.

Police said the vehicle repeatedly crossed double lines while travelling at speeds of 40 to 60km/h in a 100km/h zone.

The driver was charged with high-range drink-driving, negligent driving and not carrying their licence.

Insp McMenamin the 191 alcohol-related charges from 80,851 breath tests across the Northern Region were still too numerous for their liking.

"We'd like to see that at zero," he said.

"A number of those charges that we have laid have resulted from actual crashes. That is obviously very disappointing for us that people are making that conscious decision.

"It's not something that's been done inadvertently."

With the Northern Rivers expected to see more traffic with the end of Falls Festival at Yelgun and the final weeks of school holidays, Insp McMenamin urged motorists to take care.

"With the ongoing holiday period across Northern NSW the increase in traffic flow on both our main highways and secondary roads will remain," he said.

"We will be continuing our high profile patrols and enforcement activities across these areas. When travelling, allow for extra time, be patient, be alert and aware of your surroundings.

"It may prevent you being involved in a crash someone else has caused."

Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy of the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command said

police were disturbed about the number of young male provisional licence holders caught exceeding the speed limit by more than 45km/h while other decision-making by drivers left "the most seasoned highway patrol officers flabbergasted".

"We had situations where inexperienced drivers were detected at almost double the speed limit, others where infants were not properly restrained," he said.

"What does it take to get the message through?

"Travelling at the signposted speeds and ensuring everyone in the vehicle wears a seatbelt reduces the risk of being seriously hurt if you are involved in a crash."

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