SENIOR Constable Brett Burns from Tweed/Byron Highway Patrol is ready for Operations Slowdown.
SENIOR Constable Brett Burns from Tweed/Byron Highway Patrol is ready for Operations Slowdown. Crystal Spencer/ Tweed Daily News

Double demerit for bad drivers

TWEED police have helped keep our road fatalities to among the lowest in the northern region this year and with one of the busiest periods on our roads approaching this weekend, they hope to keep it that way.

With the Labour Day long weekend marking the start of New South Wales school holidays and the end of Queensland school holidays there is expected to be large amounts of vehicles on Tweed roads.

From the minute the clock ticks over to Friday morning until 11.59pm on Monday, police will be handing out double demerit points for speeding and seatbelt offences as part of the statewide Operation Slowdown.

Eight people were killed on the roads over the Labour Day long weekend in New South Wales last year, including five in crashes on rural roads, which had led police to warn rural road users that they won't slip under the radar.

Sergeant Richard Baxter of Tweed/Byron Highway Patrol said Tweed police would be out in force over the long weekend.

“We are expecting vehicles returning from assorted beach towns in New South Wales to Queensland and an influx of New South Wales vehicles going north to the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast,” Sgt Baxter said.

Another operation, Northroads, will continue throughout the whole two weeks of NSW school holidays.

The Pacific Highway and Tweed Valley Way will be targeted for speeding and drink driving offences.

“The Tweed Byron area is down so far this year on persons injured in serious accidents, down on alcohol related accidents and down on accidents overall - we would like to keep it that way,” Sergeant Baxter said.

While the northern New South Wales area has topped the list of fatal crashes this year with 98, the Tweed has managed to stay at the bottom of that pack, with eight fatalities.

A study of the crashes in the region has shown that 33 of the deaths have been people aged 25 or under and police are warning young drivers that the combination of speed, alcohol or distractions such as using mobile phones can lead to disastrous consequences.

Northern region traffic co-ordinator Senior Constable Glenn Trubody said in a worrying trend 88 out of the 98 people who lost their lives have been locals.

In 2008 as part of Operation Slowdown, Northern Region Police conducted over 14,900 breath tests with 147 people arrested for drink driving offences. Police also issued 1061 infringement notices for speeding.

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