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Highways and back roads will be targeted during police blitz

DRIVE SAFE: Operation NorthForce kicked off this week across the Northern Rivers and broader North Region to help drive down the high road toll.
DRIVE SAFE: Operation NorthForce kicked off this week across the Northern Rivers and broader North Region to help drive down the high road toll. Contributed

THERE will more police on our roads in the coming weeks as the region gears up for Operation NorthForce.

The blitz comes as the Northern Region's road toll continues to climb with 125 deaths this year - the number makes up about 44% of road fatalities in the state.

NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol Command Acting Commander, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy, said Operation NorthForce was solely focused on driving down the road toll.

"In the past 24 hours, five people have died on NSW roads, three of them in one crash in Northern Region," Assist Commissioner Corby said.

"Those crashes impact entire communities and we're appealing for everyone to share the message of responsible driving and wise judgement on the roads.

The high-visibility traffic operation, which begin today and will run until December 31, aims to reduce the climbing road toll and trauma on the Northern Rivers and the broader North Region, which runs from Gosford to the Queensland border.

Northern Borders Hwy Patrol Senior Sgt Chad George said extra resources would be deployed from Port Macquarie to Ballina on a weekly basis to bolster the efforts of Richmond and Tweed/Byron Local Area Commands in monitoring motorists on arterial and back roads.

"There is a marked increase from the same period last year, so these extra resources have been put into the area to try and stop the increase," Snr Sgt George said.

NSW Police statistics, as of September 30, revealed Richmond LAC's three year average for road deaths was 13 - the highest in the Northern Region.

Snr Sgt George said the different road types across the Richmond and Tweed/Byron LACs, including the Pacific Hwy, numerous road works and rural roads with high speed limits, created challenges for drivers, regardless of how many times locals had driven the roads.

"The majority of our crashes or fatal crashes are involving people who are local to the area and a lot of times people are not driving to the conditions," he said.

"That maybe the result of people becoming complacent with the roads that they drive every day and just not paying due attention."

He hopes Operation NorthForce will help increase the personal responsibility of motorists every time they get behind the wheel.

"It should really be a good wake up call to take care, drive to the conditions if you are five or 10 minutes late to where you are going, that's not really a big problem in the big scheme of things," Snr Sgt George said.

"It really comes down to people driving to the conditions of the roads ... and driving to a speed that suits the conditions.

"People think that it won't happen to them, it can and it does."

The two-month operation will lead up to the Christmas holiday blitz, Operation Safe Arrival, which will run from the beginning of the school holidays on December 16 to January 2, 2017.

So far this year, 311 have died on NSW roads, 38 more than the same time last year.

Topics:  nsw police ooperation northforce richmnd lac road toll tweed/byron lac



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