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Police urge continued vigilance on the road after nine killed during holiday period

Tuesday, 03 January 2023 11:17:09 AM

Police are concerned with driving behaviour after nine people were killed on NSW roads during an 11-day traffic operation.

Operation Christmas/New Year 2022/2023 commenced at 12.01am on Friday 23 December 2022 and concluded at 11.59pm yesterday (Monday 2 January 2023).

Double demerit points were in force for the duration of the operation for speeding, mobile phone, seatbelt, and motorcycle helmet offences.

The Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, together with local police, patrolled roads across the state, enforced all road-related legislation, including drug driving, distractions, driving tired, and any dangerous driving behaviours which put the safety of road users at risk.

During the period, police saw a concerning number of dangerous driving incidents, including excessive speed, high-range drink-driving, and reckless driving.

Across the state, police issued 8,118 speed infringements, laid 642 drink-driving charges, 972 drug-driving charges, attended 746 major crashes, and conducted 317,229 breath tests.

Nine people died in crashes over the period, compared to five in the previous year (2021/2022)

In 2022, 288 people lost their lives on NSW roads, compared to 275 the previous year (2021).

Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner Brett McFadden, said police will continue to target behaviour that endangers lives on NSW roads.

Some examples of driver behaviour detected during the operation include:

  • About 8.30pm on Sunday 1 January 2023, officers attached to Albury Highway Patrol were patrolling Sackville Street, Albury, when they observed a white Lexus sedan displaying incorrect registration plates. A pursuit was initiated, with the driver – a 20-year-old man – allegedly reaching speeds up to 140km/h in 60km/h speed zones. The pursuit ended after the driver abandoned the vehicle in a dead-end street and fled into nearby bushland. He was arrested and searched shortly afterwards, where police allegedly located 10 ecstasy pills in his possession. He was subjected to a roadside drug test, which allegedly returned a positive result for methylamphetamine (ice). License checks revealed the man was a NSW learner driver. He was taken to Albury Police Station and charged with eight offences, including police pursuit, possess prohibited drug and learner not accompanied by driver. He was refused bail to appear before Albury Local Court on Monday 2 January 2023.
  • About 5.20pm on 31 December 2022, an officer attached to Barrier Highway Patrol stopped a Hyundai on the Sturt Highway, Gol Gol, for the purpose of a random testing. The driver – a 43-year-old man – was subjected to a roadside drug test. While awaiting the results, the passenger – a 20-year-old woman – approached the police vehicle, where the single-unit officer was waiting, and allegedly commenced kicking the driver’s side door. As the officer exited the police vehicle and placed her under arrest, the driver approached and allegedly assaulted the police officer. The officer sprayed both the man and woman before he was aided by members of the public and other police. The woman and the man were taken to Dareton Police Station where they were both charged with assault police and resist police; with the woman receiving additional charges for assault police and destroy/damage property. They were refused bail to appear at Wentworth Local Court on Wednesday 11 January 2023.
  • About 12am on Monday 2 January 2023, officers attached to Cessnock Highway Patrol detected an alleged stolen Ford Focus driving on Lake Road, Kearsley. A pursuit was initiated however was terminated a short time later due to safety concerns. Later that day, the vehicle was located and the 28-year-old driver attempted to escape on foot. Officers were able to place him under arrest. He was charged with multiple offences. He was refused bail and will appear at Newcastle Local Court today (Tuesday 3 January 2023).
  • About 10.05am on Monday 2 January 2023, officers attached to Inverell Police Station were patrolling Gwydir Highway, when they observed a Mercedes Sedan driving 128km/h in a 100km/h zone. A pursuit was initiated. Upon stopping the vehicle, the 24-year-old man produced a Queensland Learner License that was found to be disqualified. He was subjected to a roadside drug test, which returned a positive result for cannabis. He was arrested and taken to Inverell Police Station and an FCAN was issued.
  • About 10am on Monday 2 January 2023, a VW Sedan was directed to stop at a stationary RMBT site. The driver initially refused to stop, before arriving to a halt a short distance after. The 28-year-old driver produced P2 Provisional license and allegedly returned a positive result for alcohol. Further testing was conducted and allegedly returned a positive result for cannabis, cocaine and methamphetamine. Upon searching the vehicle, officers allegedly located several prohibited drugs in resealable bags. He was granted conditional bail and will appear before Katoomba Local Court on Monday 30 January 2023.

REGIONAL STATISTICS

Western Region

Restraint Infringements – 72

Mobile phone infringements – 13

Speed infringements – 1,006

Breath Tests – 33,006

PCA charges – 63

Drug-driving charges - 124

Fatal Crashes – 2

Lives Lost – 2

Reported major crashes – 53

People injured – 43

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Southern Region

Restraint Infringements – 84

Mobile phone infringements – 76

Speed infringements – 2,050

Breath Tests – 63,453

PCA charges – 106

Drug-driving charges - 211

Fatal Crashes – 3

Lives Lost – 3

Reported major crashes – 111

People injured – 70

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Northern Region

Restraint Infringements – 95

Mobile phone infringements – 117

Speed infringements – 2,172

Breath Tests – 64,856

PCA charges – 203

Drug-driving charges - 266

Fatal Crashes – 0

Lives Lost – 0

Reported major crashes – 174

People injured – 68