POLICE KEPT BUSY: Northern Rivers police mounted a concerted campaign to catch drinking drivers over the Christmas-New Year period, conducting more than 8000 roadside breath tests and arresting 60 drivers.
POLICE KEPT BUSY: Northern Rivers police mounted a concerted campaign to catch drinking drivers over the Christmas-New Year period, conducting more than 8000 roadside breath tests and arresting 60 drivers.

Patrols blitz local roads

SIXTY people have been charged with drink-driving offences across the region following the conclusion of Operation Safe Arrival conducted over the Christmas-New Year period.

Police are particularly disappointed with the high number of PCA offences in both the Richmond and Tweed-Byron local area commands after such a high profile campaign.

Senior Constable Michael Hogan, from the Richmond Local Area Command, where 34 offenders were caught, said it was a disappointing result after such a concerted road safety campaign.

He was particularly concerned about the number of provisional drivers charged and was worried young people weren’t getting the message.

Four people were charged last Friday alone.

Twenty-six people were charged in the Tweed-Byron Local Area Command, prompting an impassioned appeal from Inspector Darren Steel.

“We are extremely disappointed with the result, especially when we’d signalled our intention to target alcohol-impaired drivers,” he said.

“So to get that number of PCAs over such a short period is concerning.

“It was sad we had to claim one of the State’s 23 fatalities, and all the more so as it was another avoidable accident.”

Insp Steel’s comments echoed Assistant Commissioner John Hartley’s concern that most of the State’s fatalities could have been avoided.

“We have had 23 families left heartbroken and mourning the loss of their loved ones at what should have been one of the happiest times of the year,” Assistant Commissioner Hartley said.

“The saddest part is that most of these deaths occ- urred in single-vehicle cra- shes in which speed, alcohol or fatigue were probable causes.

Across the Richmond Local Area Command, police conducted 5994 breath tests resulting in 34 drink-driving charges, and there were 268 speeding offences, 14 seatbelts infringements, 40 other traffic charges and 269 other infringement notices.

In the Tweed-Byron Local Area Command, police carried out 2560 breath tests resulting in 26 drink-driving charges. There were 315 speeding offences, 14 seatbelts infringements, 40 other traffic charges and 269 other infringement notices.



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