Coffs' high drink-driving rates a cause for concern
IT'S the same warning we hear again and again every year, but local police say Coffs Harbour motorists are failing to heed the important message.
This Easter long weekend local Traffic and Highway Patrol will be undertaking Operation Tortoise which will see a high police presence on the roads. Officers will be cracking down on a variety of road offences - in particular the ongoing issue of drink-driving.
Traffic and Highway Patrol Supervisor Senior Sergeant Jarrod Langan said police have been detecting a worrying number of drink-drivers per night.
Between June 2015 and June 2016 around 160 drink-driving charges were apparently laid in Coffs Harbour, the second highest number in regional NSW after Byron Bay.
"Unfortunately, Coffs Harbour has one of the highest drink-driving rates in NSW,” Sgt Langan said.
"From a police perspective we're ever-increasingly frustrated with the amount of drink-drivers that are detected. We've said it before but the penalties are high including the loss of licence and a criminal record.
"But even worse is the fact that if you're involved in an accident and alcohol is involved you could not only injure yourself but someone else, and the financial burden is just not worth the risk.”
This long weekend police will be targeting drink and drug driving, speeding, fatigue, mobile phone use, seatbelt use and other forms of dangerous driving.
The double demerit period will run from April 13-17. Another double demerit period will run over the ANZAC Day weekend from April 21-25.
"We ask people, especially in the Coffs Harbour area, to change their ways in how they enjoy their night out. There's plenty of other options out there for people to use,” Sgt Langan said.
"Most clubs and pubs have their courtesy buses that can be arranged to take people home, which are a great option if money is tight. But obviously taxi services offer a great service as well.”
Police are also warning motorists who are travelling long distances to factor in some expected delays into their trip with road works both north and south of the area.
They remind motorists travelling long distances to take regular breaks even if they do not feel tired as fatigue is "overrepresented” in injury and fatal crashes.