Boxing Day blitz to target bad drivers

Police are reminding motorists to take care on the roads in the lead up to Boxing Day after a number of incidents of bad driving were caught on camera over the weekend.

Seventeen people were killed on NSW roads over the Christmas holidays last year - seven deaths occurred on Boxing Day.

Police said Boxing Day is a busy day on the roads with families heading away on their holidays or returning home from Christmas celebrations.

Police want to avoid a repeat of last year’s carnage and are urging motorists to ensure their vehicle is roadworthy before setting out on any trip.

Drivers are being reminded to take regular breaks, ensure passengers are wearing their seatbelt, drive to the weather and traffic conditions, stick to the speed limit and avoid alcohol.

Operation Safe Arrival continues into the New Year with police out in force on NSW roads targeting irresponsible driver behaviour. 

Double demerits are in place until January 1.

Traffic and highway patrol commander assistant commissioner John Hartley, asked motorists to be patient on the roads to ensure they get to their destination safely.

“Seven families had their lives turned upside down last year when loved-ones failed to return home after being involved in crashes,'' assistant commissioner Hartley said.

“The tragedy for those families, particularly during this Christmas period, would have been immense and we will do all we can to avoid a repeat of this.

“With people leaving for holiday destinations on Boxing Day, there will be more traffic on the roads and families keen to take advantage of the public holidays and summer weather – all we are asking is they do so safely,” Assistant Commissioner Hartley said.

Of concern to Highway Patrol officers is the poor driving behaviour witnessed so far during the early stages of Operation Safe Arrival including:

• A car, which was loaded with pushbikes, was seen swerving across the road as it traveled along the Hume Highway at Marulan. The driver was stopped and spoken to by police, where he allegedly admitted he had traveled a long distance and was tired;

• A small sedan was seen overtaking vehicles on the wrong side of the road as it traveled along the Central Coast Highway at Wyong. The vehicle forced oncoming traffic, including a Highway Patrol vehicle, off the road;

• In another incident, Highway Patrol officers had a scare when a four-wheel drive drove directly towards them as it overtook cars on a single lane carriageway at West Wyalong.

• Police also captured the moment a wheel blew out and dislodged from a car as it traveled along the Hume Highway at Goulburn. No one was injured in the incident;

• Highway Patrol officers were almost forced off the road when a car towing a trailer overtook them and then attempted to merge back in front of the police vehicle without allowing enough room nearly causing a collision. The driver was spoken to and admitted to forgetting that the trailer was attached to the vehicle; and

• A motorcycle rider was recorded on camera riding at speeds up to 197km/h in a 100km/h zone along the Snowy Mountains Highway at Kiandra.

Assistant commissioner Hartley said police were able to intercept every vehicle and speak to the drivers involved giving them a wake-up call about their dangerous driving.

“These are just a few examples of what highway patrol officers have witnessed in recent days. Moments of madness that could have had tragic consequences and a timely wake-up call for those involved.

“If we are to avoid more deaths on the road this Christmas then people need to use common sense and take responsibility for their actions.

“Police including Traffic and Highway Patrol Officers will continue to patrol the roads this summer to intercept dangerous drivers and hopefully prevent a repeat of last year’s Boxing Day fatalities.

“I urge those setting off on their holidays to drive or ride to the conditions, stick to the speed limit, wear their seatbelts, take regular breaks, leave the mobile phone alone while driving and avoid getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” he said.

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