Record to be ashamed of

FOR every 42 cars on Tweed's roads, one driver is drunk.

If you think about how many cars you drive past every day, it is a scary thought.

Throughout the Christmas and New Year period, Tweed/Byron police breath-tested 3524 drivers, of which 83 were drunk.

"That is one drink-driver in every 42 cars," Tweed/Byron Highway Patrol boss, Sergeant Rod Golden said.

"You can compare that with somewhere like Newcastle, where they conducted 8752 breath tests and only got 75 drink-drivers. That means one in every 116 was a positive, and we are running at one in 42. It is scary."

Throughout the holiday period, from December 19 until January 4, extra police officers were brought to the region to assist with Operation Safe Arrival.

During the statewide operation, drivers caught speeding or without seatbelts were hit with double demerit points, meaning they lost at least half their licence for every offence.

Tweed/Byron police caught 171 drivers speeding and 50 without seatbelts during the operation, while 226 infringement tickets were handed out and a further 54 traffic charges were detected.

Sgt Golden said it did not matter which of the offence categories you looked at, all the figures were unacceptably high. "Across the board, the figures are unacceptable," he said. "It demonstrates the fact that in Tweed we are just complacent when it comes to the road rules. I don't know what it is going to take for people to realise the dangers."

Sgt Golden said a record 1200 drink-drivers were charged in the 12 months of 2008 compared with 1004 in 2007. But after catching scores more since the start of 2009, he believes this year's figures will be higher again.

"We topped the state for the worst drink-drivers again," Sgt Golden said.

"I'm not surprised, and it looks like with the busy start to the year we've had, we may even top that figure again this year."

Sgt Golden praised the efforts of his highway patrol officers and said they would continue their high-visibility policing, despite Christmas and New Year being over.

"The team worked very well to achieve the results we achieved," he said. "They put in the long hours, but we are still going to be out on the roads in the coming weeks."

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