Police hail Illawarra's better holiday driving

Police have applauded the majority of Illawarra motorists after lower-than-average drink-driving and speeding offences were recorded during Operation Safe Arrival, the annual Christmas traffic-enforcement campaign.

The operation began at 12.01am on Friday December 20, and ended at 11.59pm on Thursday.

In 2013, NSW recorded its lowest road toll for 89 years, and while the Illawarra had no deaths during the holiday operation, drivers are warned not to be complacent.

Lake Illawarra traffic and highway patrol command sergeant Kevin Hood said while speeding and drink-driving offences were down, other offences, such as using a mobile while driving, were up.

"Our other infringement notices, they are up slightly across the whole [southern] region," he said.

In Lake Illawarra and Wollongong command areas, 18,926 random breath tests were conducted, 137 speeding tickets issued and 324 other infringement notices dispersed during the operation.

A total of six seatbelt infringement notices were issued during the operation.

One of the most recent offences recorded was a 26-year-old female P-plater caught driving at 136km/h in a 100km/h zone on the Princes Highway at 1.35pm on Thursday.

P-platers are restricted to travelling at 90km/h. The woman received an infringement notice and had her licence suspended.

Yesterday motorists again encountered heavy holiday traffic as bottlenecks at Kiama Bends, Berry, Milton and Ulladulla turned into slow-moving carparks.

At its worst point, southbound traffic at Kiama was banked up for four kilometres while northbound traffic was queued for about three kilometres at Ulladulla.

Sgt Hood urged motorists returning from holidays to be patient.

"We just ask people plan their trip and ... if they get fatigued, or tired and cranky and have the opportunity to get out safely, to do so," he said.

Across the state, police carried out 571,664 breath tests and issued 960 drink-driving charges during Operation Safe Arrival.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said despite the road toll reduction, there was still unacceptable loss of life on NSW roads.

The final road toll for the Christmas holiday period was 10.

"We can't become complacent because we have seen a massive reduction in road injury and road death," she said.

"It really is now the crucial time for us to focus on keeping this road toll as low as we possibly can."

The overall road toll for 2013 of 339 was the lowest since 1924, Ms Burn said.

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