Reducing car accident injuries and deaths has been the target of a recent NSW Police Force campaign named Operation Slow Down.
The initiative, which started on Friday October 4 and ended on Monday October 7, saw officers hand out 4,924 speeding infringements and administer 180,716 breath tests.
However, despite there being a state-wide high visibility traffic enforcement operation in effect, nine people still lost their lives on NSW roads over the Labour Day long weekend.
This is five more than the same weekend last year, with NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol commander, assistant commissioner John Hartley saying the organisation’s thoughts go out to the families.
“Our goal in every operation of this kind is zero fatalities, so we are disappointed and saddened that nine people have lost their lives in traffic incidents since Friday,” he explained.
“While police are still investigating the cause of many crashes that occurred over the weekend, I can guarantee speed was a contributing factor in a high number of them.”
The current death toll on NSW roads is 258 for the year, which is 28 fewer than at this time in 2012.
Car accident compensation may also be on the cards for dozens of drivers and passengers, with 410 major crashes reported during Operation Slow Down and 128 people being injured.
Of the more than 180,000 individuals given breathalyser tests, 269 were charged with drink driving – a significant reduction on last year’s 425 offences.
However, speeding was more prevalent, as 4,924 people were caught over the limit this year, compared with just 4,131 in 2012.
“The long weekend may be over, but we continue to urge NSW road users to remain vigilant and practise safe driving: stay within the speed limit, drive to conditions, and take breaks on long trips,” assistant commissioner Hartley said.
Before Operation Slow Down began, drivers were warned that double demerits would be handed out during the long weekend.
Anyone caught speeding or with seatbelt or motorcycle helmet offences during the three-day period would be hit with the infraction.
NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol assistant superintendent Mark Cook said the long weekend is a time when families and friends should be having fun, but reminded drivers to keep safety at the front of their minds.
“What may start out as a fun holiday, can very quickly turn to tragedy if drivers are fatigued, distracted, or pushing speed limits,” he explained.