Police take aim at drunk drivers
Friday, 4th November, 2011
By John Casey
Concerned BH Police are in the midst of a blitz on drink-driving as they wrestle with an unacceptable road toll that has risen almost 50 per cent on 2008 data.
In the past four months alone the Barrier Local Area Command (LAC) has dealt with 25 “injury or fatal crashes” and with the festive season approaching police want to crack down on offenders to ensure safety on our roads.
Operation drink Drive II commenced across NSW yesterday and Barrier LAC Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Mick Stoltenberg, said the campaign would run until midnight tomorrow.
“We are extremely disappointed with the high number of drink driving offences detected in our area in recent months and we need to get a clear message through to the public,” DI Stoltenberg said.
“In the past three months Broken Hill has recorded 10 drink driving offences, which is more than half the number for the entire Barrier Local Area Command.”
DI Stoltenberg warned that anyone choosing to drink and drive over the next two days would be caught with Highway Patrol and General Duties Police conducting both mobile and stationary random breath testing.
“People need to drink responsibly or consider the public transport options available to them,” DI Stoltenberg said.
“There are better options than chancing your arm and ending up with a three-hour visit to a police station, being injured in an accident, or worse, winding up at the morgue,” DI Stoltenberg added.
“Penalties include on the spot loss of licence and we know what a burden that can be for people who need transport for work.
“The mining industry is offering well-paid positions in Broken Hill at the moment and workers shouldn’t risk an opportunity by foolishly getting behind the wheel when they have had too much to drink.”
The mining boom has also contributed to an increase in traffic on roads in the region, which was another reason for all motorists to be vigilant, according to DI Stoltenberg.
Figures released yesterday by the NSW Police Traffic Research and Intelligence Unit paint a sombre picture for the Western area, which recorded the worst result of the six NSW Divisions.
Four of the Divisions saw a decline in year-on-year crash statistics while Western was up almost six per cent.
Alarmingly, this year’s 57 fatal crashes in the Western Division represent a near 50 per cent increase on 2008.
Acting Commander of NSW Traffic Services Branch, Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith, said drivers need to be responsible for their own actions when getting behind the wheel.
“While any death is a tragedy there are signs that people are getting the message with our road toll at 302, 36 less than last year.
“There are no excuses for drink driving. People who drive when drunk risk the lives of not only themselves but other road-users.”
This year over 18,000 road users have been arrested and charged for drink driving.
“If you drink and drive we will do our best to ensure you get caught. Keeping your licence is a matter for you,” AAC Smith said.