Operation Safe Return reveals rise in speeding offences

Date: Jan 30, 2015

The number of people caught speeding has risen over the last year, according to NSW Police data.

Increased scrutiny was placed on drivers last weekend (January 24 and 25), as the majority of people in the state enjoyed a three-day break due to Australia Day.

The police launched Operation Safe Arrival on Friday, which saw 3,585 motorists stopped for speeding by the time the campaign had concluded the following Monday. This figure was 140 higher than during last year’s initiative.

Car accident injuries are an unfortunate result of speeding and other reckless driving habits, which can lead to relatively minor conditions including whiplash and more severe problems such as total and permanent disabilities.

Superintendent Stuart Smith urged drivers to stay within the speed limit to prevent tragedies from occurring on NSW roads.

“More than 3,500 motorists risked their own lives, and those of fellow road-users, by breaking the speed limit over the course of the last four days,” he explained.

“People need to realise that speed limits are set for a reason – exceeding them can have a devastating impact on your life. You could seriously injure or kill yourself, or another road user.”

Drink driving offences fall

Despite the disappointing figures, NSW Police argued that Operation Safe Return identified a significant drop in the number of drunk drivers over the long weekend.

In fact, there was a 36 per cent decrease in such incidents, falling from 429 motorists in 2014 to 272 this year. However, overall traffic infringements climbed by 591 offences to 6,366.

“During this year’s Operation Safe Return we conducted 215,465 breath tests – 11,884 more than we did over the course of last year’s operation,” Superintendent Smith said.

“At the start of this campaign, we said that we would breath-test 200,000 drivers and we have exceeded that figure.”

Nevertheless, he added that there is still room for improvement, particularly as there were a number of incidents where extremely high alcohol readings were recorded.

The legal drink-driving limit for standard motorists is 0.05 grams – or 50 milligrammes – of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. NSW Police said some people were caught with a blood alcohol level of 0.292.

“We have also seen too many drivers who have been speeding, with many caught doing more than 45? kilometres per hour (km/h) over the speed limit,” Superintendent Smith added.

One learner driver was stopped travelling at 150 km/h in a 60 km/h zone, resulting in an on-the-spot licence suspension and a $2,252 fine.

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