STAY SAFE: Highway officers are concerned as NSW roads have seen a worrying 10% increase in fatalities this year.
STAY SAFE: Highway officers are concerned as NSW roads have seen a worrying 10% increase in fatalities this year. Trevor Veale

Road safety hits home with final death toll for 2016

UPDATE: A bleak 16 deaths have been listed in the final figures of Operation Safe Arrival, leaving NSW police disappointed after the 18-day operation wrapped up yesterday.

In total, 384 people died on NSW roads in 2016.

Over the past few days devastating incidents have taken place on the North Coast, including the death of a 28-year-old man on Monday in a single vehicle accident that saw his Mazda wagon roll several times off a road at Sandy Beach.

A man has also been airlifted to hospital after a serious crash between a Holden Commodore and a parked semi-trailer in Grafton on Tuesday afternoon.

Police say the main culprit, which contributed to around 40% of the fatal crashes during Operation Safe Arrival, was speed.

"Speeding is still the biggest killer on our roads, yet we see people continue to speed on highways, back roads, and through residential areas," said Michael Corby, Acting Commander of the State's Traffic and Highway Patrol.

"We have already seen too many people and too many families learn the hard way that speeding kills."

Since the beginning of Operation Safe Arrival, December 16:

- 441,134 infringements were issued, including 19,267 for speeding.

- 1,033 people have been charged with drink-driving.

- 1,440 major crashes have been reported.

- 576 people have been injured.

-16 people died.

Saturday, December 31: IT WAS just one amongst the 382 deaths on NSW roads this year, but the recent passing of a twelve-year-old boy in a crash near Grafton is a sobering reminder of the importance of road safety which too many unfortunately do not heed.

Oscar Buttrose, a relative of media personality Ita Buttrose, was travelling with his family on the Pacific Highway at Tyndale when their car was hit head-on by a p-plater.

As of December 29 the toll stands at 382, having risen from 348 in 2015, and 307 in 2014

Jarrod Langan, Coffs Harbour Highway Patrol Supervisor Sergeant, reveals the state has had a 10% increase in fatalities this year, with officers concerned over the 384 people caught speeding this past month in the Coffs-Clarence area.

"We're getting a lot of speeding offences in road work areas, and areas where the speed limit is under 100," he said.

"People aren't taking notice of signs and road conditions, and that's where a lot of our fatal and serious car crashes are happening.

"I can say that the northern region, like the rest of the state, has had a significant increase in fatal crashes for the year."

During the holiday period Operation Safe Arrival has been in place in attempt to prevent mayhem on the roads - having begun on December, 16 and running through until January, 2 - and officers are less than content on the figures so far.

Coffs-Clarence LAC have detected 21 people for drink driving, 384 for speeding, 5 for using mobile phones while driving, 16 for not wearing a seat belt, and 158 infringement notices have been issued for other offences.

"Overall, we're very concerned about the high numbers of speeding motorists, considering the majority of the period has been a double demerit period," said Sgt. Langan.

"It still frustrates us how 16 people can be detected not wearing a seatbelt."

Six of the PCAs detected in the area also happened to be in the high range category.

"We've been drilling into people's heads for such a long time now not to drink and drive. The main message now is that we just really need people to concentrate, take regular rest breaks and take personal responsibility when driving a motor vehicle."


THE STATE OF NSW ROADS (As of December 29)


Since the start of Operation Safe Arrival;

681 people have been charged with drink-driving.

34224 infringements have been issued, including 14327 for speeding

1154 major crashes have been reported, resulting in 454 people injured

10 people have died (six less than at this time of the operation last year).

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