More than 2000 random breath tests were conducted around Corowa and Mulwala during an 18-day operation throughout the holiday period, with police pleased to report just three drivers were caught drink-driving.
The roadside testing was part of NSW Police’s holiday safe driving campaign, known as Operation Safe Arrival, which began on Friday, December 15 and finished on Monday, January 1.
Corowa’s Sen-Constable Brad Duncan praised the behaviour of motorists driving in the local area, especially since there had been a high volume of traffic moving into the area during the holiday period.
“There was a large police presence during the holiday period, we were out there every day and night trying to catch drivers doing the wrong thing,” he said.
“Out of more than 2000 random breathe tests we caught just three drink-drivers, so the message is clear to most people.”
The most notable drink-driver offence was when police nabbed a man, 65, in Melbourne Street in Mulwala on December 23 who recorded a positive blood alcohol reading of 0.191.
The man will appear in court on January 24.
Among the other drink drivers included a driver who recorded a mid-range reading in Corowa on December 27 and another driver was picked up during a stationary random breath test in Mulwala with a low-range reading on December 20.
Sen-Constable Duncan believes motorists are more aware of planning their trips and organising a designated driver if they do plan on drinking alcohol.
The campaign also targeted dangerous driving behaviour, which included speeding, driving under the influence of drugs, phone use and not wearing seatbelts.
Corowa police also issued a “fair amount” of speeding tickets around Urana and in the township of Mulwala, especially around the new 50km/h speed zone.
There were no fatalities in the Corowa and surrounding area but it was a different story in other parts of NSW with 28 people killed in 24 separate crashes across the state during the operation.
Police say it is disappointing to see drivers continue to put themselves and other road user’s lives at risk through dangerous decisions, despite numerous warnings and an increased police presence on the roads.
Deputy Commissioner Specialist Support, Catherine Burn, said lives will continue to be lost if the community doesn’t work together and change their attitudes towards road safety.
“The New Year has just started and we don’t want to see more carnage on our roads,” she said.
“We had 392 people die on NSW roads in 2017, and 28 died during Operation Safe Arrival.
“The biggest tragedy is that most of the lives that were lost throughout the year and during the operation were avoidable.
“Simply put, it is poor decisions that are killing people on our roads and it’s not just the person making poor decisions that are dying, they are often taking innocent people with them.
“While we will continue enforce the road rules, we need everyone in the community to change their attitude toward road safety.”
Deputy Commissioner Burn said every time you get in a car or on a bike, take responsibility for your own actions and make sure everyone around you is too.
“Operation Safe Arrival has now ended, but we are committed to road safety and you will continue to see an increased presence on our roads right through to the end of the month,” she said.
Bernard Carlon, Executive Director of the Centre for Road Safety, said the big three killers on our roads were driving too fast, tired drivers and drivers who have had too much to drink.
“The big three resulted in too many deaths and serious injuries in 2017,” he said.
“We all need to renew our commitment to safe behaviour behind the wheel if we’re going to see the road toll come down again,” Mr Carlon said.
There were 29 fatalities during December 2016 in NSW, one more fatality (4 per cent) than December 2015 and the highest December total since 2011 (with 40 fatalities).
Meanwhile, Corowa Police were happy with the behaviour of revellers at the New Year’s Eve community fireworks event.
“There were a lot of people at the event, but we didn’t come across any alcohol related incidents,” Sen-Constable Duncan said.