21 fewer lives lost over Christmas and New Year, NSW

Seven people lost their lives on NSW roads during Operation Safe Arrival, 21 fewer than the same time last year.

Safe Arrival, the annual Christmas/New Year road safety operation, began at 12.01am on Friday 21 December 2018, and ended at 11.59pm yesterday (Tuesday 1 January 2019).

Twenty-eight lives were lost during Operation Safe Arrival 2017/2018.

Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy of the Traffic & Highway Patrol Command, said a highly-visible police presence in country areas was key to fewer lives being lost on NSW roads.

He said highway patrol officers worked closely with local general duties police to maintain a presence on feeder roads to major rural routes such as the Hume, Sturt, Newell, Princes and Pacific highways.

“At the start of Operation Safe Arrival, we heard from a courageous woman who lost four members of her family in a horrific crash on the South Coast on Boxing Day 2017.

“For her and her family, no holiday or family event will ever be the same. This is horrific reality which changes a family.

“Every time we take control of a vehicle we should remember how our actions could impact others,” Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.

Police were disturbed about the number of young male provisional licence holders who were detected travelling more than 45km/h above the speed limit during Safe Arrival.

Assistant Commissioner Corboy said the closing days of the operation were highlighted by some extraordinarily bad choices made by drivers.

“Some of the decisions made by drivers in NSW have left even 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 – 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.

“We have invested heavily in the priority areas of the State’s Road Safety Plan 2021 beginning with the priority area of saving lives on country roads,” Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.

Some examples of inappropriate driver behaviour detected during Day 12 of Operation Safe Arrival include,

At 1.18pm yesterday (Tuesday 1 January 2019), a 41-year-old man was stopped in Cartwright Avenue, Miller, for a random breath test. The breath test returned a positive result and the driver was arrested. A subsequent breath analysis returned an alleged reading of 0.222. It will be alleged the man had started drinking 13 hours before his vehicle was stopped. His licence was suspended, and he was issued a Field Court Attendance Notice and will appear at the Liverpool Local Court on 30 January 2019.

Yesterday (1 January 2019), police coordinated by Traffic and Highway Patrol Command conducted an RBT operation on Peats Ridge Road near the site of the Lost Paradise Music Festival. Officers conducted 450 breath and drug tests. Five breath tests for alcohol returned positive results while 59 drivers returned a positive detection to an illicit substance in their oral fluid. Fifty-seven people were given a 24-hour prohibition from driving notice. Police are awaiting the results of laboratory testing to determine if 59 drivers will have legal action taken against them.

About 1.30am today (2 January 2019), a 32-year-old man was stopped for a random breath test on the Pacific Highway at Artarmon. Police have observed his partner wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and their three-month-old child, while lying in a baby capsule, was unrestrained. The driver was issued a penalty notice for drive with child under six months not retrained as prescribed, and passenger seatbelt not adjusted and fastened (16 years or older).

At 8.25am yesterday (1 January 2019), a 68-year-old Canberra man was stopped on Lachlan Valley Way at Boorowa for a random breath test. The roadside test showed positive and a subsequent breath analysis returned a reading of 0.081. The man was charged by way of Court Attendance Notice for having a mid-range PCA and his licence was suspended. He will appear at Yass Local Court on 15 February 2019.

Key statistics (Cumulative total – started on 21 December 2018):

Total infringements issued (not speeding): 20,238

Restraint infringements: 1636

Speed infringements: 11,812

Breath tests: 541,059

Drink-driving charges: 759

Lives lost: 7

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