Significant drop in drink-driving charges marred by increase in fatalities during Operation Drink Drive 1, NSW

A man was charged with drink driving twice within two hours in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, and a woman will face court over high-range drink driving after being caught driving erratically near Queanbeyan, on the final day of the operation.

While Operation Drink Drive 1 showcased proactive police work across the state, it was marred by reckless driving and poor decision making.

The fatality toll increased to six after a 47-year-old woman died after a single-vehicle crash at Lochinvar near Windermere, and a man died after a single-vehicle crash near Lithgow.

Operation Drink Drive 1, an intensive three-day campaign targeting drink drivers, started at 12.01am on Friday 15 February 2019 and continued until 11.59pm on Sunday 17 February 2019.

Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy of the Traffic & Highway Patrol Command, said although the operation is over, the presence of police and safety messaging does not stop.

“Six lives lost over the weekend means six people won’t be returning home to their families this week,” Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.

“On a positive note, it appears most of the public are recognising the dangers of drink driving as there was more than 150 less drink-driving charges than last year, despite almost 40,000 more breath tests being conducted.

“We’d like to remind road users our focus on drink driving does not stop after the operation finishes,” Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.

Some examples of inappropriate driver behaviour detected during Day 3 of Operation Drink Drive 1 include:

Eastern Suburbs

About 5.30am yesterday (Sunday 17 February 2019), police stopped a blue Daihatsu on New Beach Road, Rushcutters Bay, after it’s alleged the vehicle attempted to avoid a nearby RBT site. The 26-year-old driver and sole occupant of the vehicle was subject to a roadside breath test, which returned a positive result. He was arrested and taken to Waverley Police Station where he was charged with high range PCA, and his licence was suspended.

A short time later about 6.30am, police observed the same vehicle turning into a service station on New South Head Road. The 26-year-old man was again subject to a roadside breath test which returned positive result. He was arrested and taken to the nearby RBT bus, where he was charged with high range PCA, and drive whilst suspended.

He was granted conditional bail to appear before Downing Centre Local Court on Friday 22 March 2019.

Queanbeyan

About 3.40pm yesterday, police observed a vehicle travelling on the wrong side of the Kings Highway, towards Queanbeyan, before swerving to the correct side. It’s believed the vehicle was the subject of recent complaints by other road users.

The 51-year-old female driver and sole occupant of the vehicle was subject to a roadside breath test, which returned a positive result of 0.243.

She was issued a Future Court Attendance Notice for the offence of high-range PCA, and her NSW driving privileges were suspended. She will appear before Queanbeyan Local Court on Monday 18 March 2019.

Key statistics (Cumulative total – compiled from 15 February 2019):

Total infringements issued (not speeding): 6,239 (100 more than the same operation last year)

Speed infringements: 2,330 (425 less than the same operation last year)

Breath tests: 202,360 (36,091 more than the same operation last year)

Drink-driving charges: 259 (185 less than the same operation last year)

Lives lost: 6 (two more than the same operation last year)

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