NSW Police targets drunk drivers in Operation Watchtower

Date: Mar 04, 2016

Drink driving is a major cause of car accidents in NSW, which is why Traffic and Highway Patrol officers have joined with Local Area Commands in the state to tackle the problem.

NSW Police launched Operation Watchtower on Sunday (February 28), with 6,574 breath tests administered on the day. Officers were also on the lookout for drug driving, with 1,659 tests given to drivers to see whether they were under the influence of narcotics.

The campaign led to the police force charging 12 individuals with drink driving and 133 people with drug-related crimes. Moreover, officers handed out 160 infringement notices, as well as charging 26 drivers for miscellaneous traffic offences and other indiscretions.

Assistant Commissioner John Hartley, Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, warned that alcohol can stay in the system for a number of hours after people stopped drinking. Drivers may therefore want to avoid using their vehicles the morning after a big night out.

“Despite these massive police operations all over New South Wales, drivers are still prepared to take the risk which potentially can cost their licence, their livelihood, or sadly their own or another’s life,” he stated.

Car accident compensation

Anyone who is involved in a car accident caused by drunk drivers could be entitled to compensation through NSW legislation. The Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 outlines the relevant laws for pursuing claims.

Victims of vehicle collisions can suffer serious or even life-threatening injuries, which may also lead to psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. Time off work can result in lost income, and the costs of ongoing treatment may begin to pile up.

All road users are potentially protected under the Act, including drivers, passengers, cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. Successfully receiving damages means people can cover a range of expenses related to the accident, providing peace of mind and financial support for the road to recovery.

Assistant Commissioner Hartley said NSW Police conducted 6.1 million random breath tests last year and identified 18,800 drink drivers. Officers also issued 58,000 drug tests, with 9,100 people found under the influence of narcotics over the 12 months.

“Those that continue to run the risk of drink or drug driving will be caught,” he added.

The common effects of alcohol include slow reaction times, poor judgement, compromised balance and drowsiness, while drugs can lead to over-confidence, aggressive driving, blurry vision and loss of concentration.

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