Police target motorists this Christmas

MOTORISTS have been put on notice that police will be out in force on western region roads as part of the annual Operation Safe Arrival this Christmas and New Year period.

The annual traffic enforcement campaign started at midnight and will run for two weeks through to Friday January 4. Double demerit point penalties will be in place until New Year's Day for speeding, seatbelt and helmet offences.

Police say the community can expect to see a highly-visible police presence across the festive period, with motorists twice as likely to be breath-tested, speed-tested or spoken to by police during the operation.

Acting Senior Sergeant Jason Bush from Orana Cluster Traffic and Highway Patrol said that despite it being the festive season, the Christmas/New Year period could be a horrific time on the roads.

"Last year, 19 people died on NSW roads during the two-week period of Operation Safe Arrival," he said.

"The festive period is a time to be spent with friends and family, not in the back of an ambulance, an intensive care ward or police cell.

Acting Senior Sergeant Bush said if motorists planned to party over the Christmas break, they should also plan how they are going to get home.

"Wouldn't you rather plan your trip home than plan your family's funeral?" he said.

Western region traffic tactician Acting Inspector Peter McMenamin said each local area command had highway patrol vehicles enabled with number plate recognition technology that would allow police to detect, amongst other things, unregistered vehicles.

In 2011/12, Operation Safe Arrival resulted in:

o 510,783 breath tests and charging 812 motorists with drink-driving;

o 12,612 motorists for speeding;

o 1100 people not wearing seat belts.

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