Coffs police nab drink drivers

POLICE are canvassing the region’s roads for alcohol and drug-affected drivers in the lead up to Australia Day, and already they’ve had success.

A handful of local motorists were caught drink driving at the weekend.

Officers breath testing in Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga and along the Pacific Highway have also drug tested drivers, using mouth swabs to detect the presence of prohibited substances.

Police expect to test more than 100,000 motorists during Operation Safe Return, the state’s Australia Day road safety campaign which runs until Wednesday.

Already there’s cause for concern, with most of the drivers pinged in the Coffs Clarence Command living locally.

One incident saw a Toormina man, five times over the legal limit, crash his car and trailer into a power pole.

Sawtell police nabbed the man after the accident in Pippin Close on Saturday around 11.30pm.

The man failed a roadside breath test and was taken to the police station where he returned a high-range reading of 0.228.

He was held in the cells to sober up and was released early yesterday.

His licence has been suspended and he will join a number of drink drivers in the Coffs Harbour Local Court on February 14.

A P-plater paid the price for not following the rule of a 12 to 18 hour break between the bottle and the throttle.

He failed a breath test on the Pacific Highway, Coffs Harbour, on Saturday at 6.55am and later returned a mid-range reading of 0.084.

A 33-year-old Coffs man also blew the bag, going four times over after he was stopped in Collingwood Street on Saturday morning.

He was escorted to the station around midnight and returned a high-range reading of 0.204.

NSW Police Traffic Services Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell, is urging all drivers to act responsibly over the holiday period.

“Speeding, drink driving and driver fatigue are known factors which increase the chance of a collision, and can result in drivers and their passengers sustaining fatal or serious injuries,” he said.

During last year’s operation, two people died on NSW roads and 218 people were injured in 681 crashes. Police performed 125,589 breath tests and charged 129 people with drink driving.

“Our aim over this operation is for the state’s roads to remain fatality-free.”

“But we need the cooperation and assistance of road-users to achieve our goal and also reduce the trauma associated with collisions.

“Be responsible – don’t wreck someone’s life, or your own – during the Australia Day holiday period,” he said.

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