An officer conducts a random breath test on the Pacific Highway in Coffs Harbour last week. There will be more of these over the next few weeks all along the Coast.
An officer conducts a random breath test on the Pacific Highway in Coffs Harbour last week. There will be more of these over the next few weeks all along the Coast. Trevor Veale

Motorists ignore police warnings

POLICE have thrown all their resources at making Coffs Coast roads safer but the outrageous driving behaviour continues.

Senior police can’t believe some motorists seem determined to flout the law despite a high-profile police operation still in progress.

Operation Cross is a three-week blitz in the Coffs/Clarence and Mid North Coast local area commands designed to curb road fatalities in our region.

It has been targeting the ‘fatal four’ – speeding, fatigue, the non-wearing of seatbelts and drink/drug driving – and police have called in additional resources from up and down the North Coast.

The campaign ends tomorrow but tragically, two people have died during the operation – a 23-year-old man at Clybucca on March 12 and a 43-year-old man at Willawarrin near Kempsey on March 18.

“So in that regard, the operation has not been a success because reducing road deaths has been the whole focus of the campaign,” said northern region traffic co-ordinator, Senior Sergeant Bill Darnell.

“Thankfully, we’ve had no fatal crashes in Coffs/Clarence.

“Operation Cross has been very warmly received by the community in the phone calls we have received.

“People are seeing police in areas where they haven’t normally seen them.”

Operation Cross marshalled the resources of officers from throughout the Coffs/Clarence and Mid North Coast local area commands as well as Tweed/Byron, Richmond, Hunter Valley, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and other parts of our region.

The Coffs/Clarence and Mid North Coast regions had a total of 31 fatalities last year.

The next blitz, Operation Tortoise, will be held during the Easter long weekend when double demerit points will be in force.

With the NSW road toll climbing to 100 so far this year, the message for Coffs Coast motorists is to slow down and drive safely.

“The 100 people who have died on roads to date this year is up from 87 at the same time last year,” said the NSW Transport and Roads Minister David Campbell.

“The provisional road toll for 2009 was 460.

“This is a terrible start to the year on our roads. This represents more than one person dying on our roads every day so far this year.

“Every death on our roads is a tragedy and my thoughts are with the family and loved ones of people who have lost their lives since the start of the year.

“Each of these 100 people who have died is a lost partner, mother, father, daughter or son. This is absolutely tragic.”

Mr Campbell said it was the responsibility of all road users not to speed, drink-drive or drive unsafely.

“Taking risks by breaking the law and speeding or driving unsafely is just not worth it,” he said.

“Speeding remains the number one killer on our roads, particularly among young drivers.

“It was a factor in more than 46 per cent of crashes last year and continues to represent the largest cause of fatalities on our roads.”



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