Northern Region police are warning they will be out on the roads in force during Operation Safe Arrival, which kicks off on December 23, to catch drivers breaking the road laws.
Northern Region police are warning they will be out on the roads in force during Operation Safe Arrival, which kicks off on December 23, to catch drivers breaking the road laws. David Nielsen

Deaths take a toll on cop patience

KYOGLE police were staggered to hear a vehicle travelling towards them last Sunday morning with no rear tyre and riding on a dangerously worn rim.

After stopping the 1997 Daewoo they discovered the driver was a 35-year-old learner-driver from Inala, near Brisbane, with an unlicensed passenger. He was breathalysed, registering 0.145, and later charged.

As the statewide Operation Safe Arrival kicks off, Northern Rivers motorists are being warned that police will be out in force to quell this year’s horrifying road toll statistics.

The NSW road toll currently stands at 441 – 94 more than last year – and 129 of those deaths have occurred in the Northern Region.

Northern Region trafficco-ordinator, Senior Sergeant Mal Read, has warned law-breaking motorists they can expect their driving privileges to be suspended on the spot for serious offences.

“We’ll be out in force thisholiday season and those motorists caught flouting the laws can expect to feel the full force of the law,” Snr Sgt Read said.

“The region’s road toll isalready 129 too high and we’ll be pulling out all stops to ensure it doesn’t rise further. However, there is also an onus on drivers to do the right thing behind the wheel.”

Double demerit points will be in effect from midnight on Wednesday, December 23, through to Sunday, January 3, for all speeding and seatbelt offences.

Meanwhile, the New Italy Driver Reviver station, which services one of the country’s most notorious sections of the Pacific Highway, is struggling to get enough volunteers.

Organiser Dorothea Sawatzki said they used to have about 100 volunteers to run the two-week operation, whereas now they only had about 60 to 70.

“Some of us have been doing it since it began 13 years ago, but we’re getting a bit old now,” she said.

“We used to open for 24 hours, but now it’s only from 6am to 10pm.”

Mrs Sawatzki said people really appreciated the stop as there were few alternatives.

Last year they served more than 15,000 cups of tea and coffee.

“Drivers come in very tired after that long, boring stretch from Grafton,” she said.



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