Cops to flood region's roads in bid to reduce road toll

THE North Coast is ranked among the worst places in NSW for fatal crashes, and now highway patrol officers have launched a new traffic blitz to reduce the death toll.

With the NSW road toll 22% above the same time last year, from Saturday, February 7 to February 18, Northern Region Highway Patrol supervisor Senior Sergeant Chad George said officers will be out in force on major and back roads.

"Operation Saturation is targeting the top 10 police commands across the state that have been identified as having the highest number of fatal crashes," he said.

NSW rankings - 2014 and 2015 fatal crashes:

4. Richmond LAC (12)

5. Coffs Clarence LAC (11)

10. Tweed Byron LAC (9)

"Across the region during the 12 days of the operation there will be 78 additional shifts worked during the high profile, high visibility operation."

Between Richmond, Coffs Clarence and Tweed Byron commands, Snr Sgt George said there had been 32 fatal crashes in 2014 and 2015.

"A number of those crashes included multiple deaths."

In the 35 days of 2015 so far, Snr Sgt George said 45% of fatal crashes in NSW were speed related.

"So far - particularly this year - there has been a trend of speed-related crashes, as well as fatigue and driver distraction."

With the massive police presence on the regions roads, Snr Sgt George said people will still be caught trying to take the back roads home.

"We will be targeting our crash hotspots including the Pacific Highway, The Bruxner Highway, Summerland Way and Tweed Valley Way, but also Bangalow Rd, The Coast Rd from Byron to Ballina and backroads in between.

"Speeding, drink or drug driving, failing to wear seat belts or correct helmets, mobile phone use and fatigue are all key risk factors in fatal crashes which traffic and highway patrol officers will focus on."

Snr Sgt George said since the beginning of 2015, 27 drivers and their passengers, 13 motorcyclists, three pedestrians and one cyclist have lost their lives on NSW roads.

"Last year there were 309 fatalities in NSW, the lowest figure since 1923."

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