Young drivers ignoring road safety

Due to flooding to the north, holiday traffic is using the Coffs Coast as an escape route.
Due to flooding to the north, holiday traffic is using the Coffs Coast as an escape route. Bruce Thomas

POLICE have been swamped by a continual procession of reckless drivers on the Coffs Coast.

Highway patrol officers are particularly worried about the increasing number of novice drivers who have come to their attention.

Operation Safe Arrival is now in full swing until midnight, January 7, and police expect to catch more law-breakers before they’re done.

“Generally I think local people should be praised because we haven’t had any fatalities or serious accidents, considering the bad weather we’ve had,” said Sergeant Brett Jackson from

Coffs Harbour highway patrol.

“However, the number of drink-driving offences, particularly by provisional and learner drivers, is disappointing.”

Sergeant Jackson said so far during the blitz, local police had caught 31 speedsters and charged seven people with drink-driving from 248 breath tests.

They’ve also issued another 34 infringement notices.

Among some of the worst offenders: a man, 45, was charged with mid-range drink-driving after he was breath-tested at 7.55am on Sunday. His breath analysis was .120;

a P-plater, 20, was stopped for a breath-test at 1.35am on Christmas Day.

He was arrested after a positive reading and his subsequent breath analysis returned a reading of .126.

P-platers are restricted to a zero blood alcohol level; another P-plater, 20, was found with his car in vegetation off Hogbin Drive at 12.40am on Friday.

His subsequent breath analysis returned a reading of .132; and a learner-driver was found driving unaccompanied and with a blood alcohol reading of .049 at 7.20am yesterday .

The 16-year-old will now face court.

“I urge drivers to keep up what has been for the most part good driving behaviour and to remain patient because the traffic will get heavier with people returning home,” Sgt Jackson said.

“Police will continue to be out in large numbers.”

Double demerits are in place for all speeding and seatbelt offences until January 3.

Those caught for serious offences could also face licence suspension and even jail time.

The end of Operation Safe Arrival will herald the start of Operation North Roads from January 8 to January 21.

Local troops will be bolstered by officers from Sydney and Operation Safe Return from January 22 to January 27.

Northern region traffic co-ordinator, Senior Sergeant Bill Darnell, says many of the crashes on our roads can be avoided by drivers slowing down, taking a break when they’re tired and making sure they follow the road rules.

“Those who do the wrong thing are not only putting their own lives at risk, they could maim or kill others who are doing the right thing,” Sgt Darnell said.

Police are paying particular attention to the Pacific Highway and other major thoroughfares.

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