NSW Police has begun a six-week operation in western NSW in an effort to prevent more car accident deaths across the region.
Named Operation WestForce, it is a rapid deployment, high-visibility initiative that aims to bring down the steadily rising road toll over recent years.
There were 40 people killed on the region’s roads in 2014, 55 a year later and 64 in 2016. Sadly, 47 individuals have already lost their lives since the beginning of this year.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, the Honourable Troy Grant said officers will be on high alert for instances of dangerous driving.
“Operation WestForce is about putting drivers on notice – dangerous behaviour will not be tolerated on our roads, and police will be out in force to catch anyone putting lives at risk behind the wheel,” he explained.
Car accidents in NSW
Transport for NSW data indicates there were more than 12,000 people hospitalised with serious injuries from car accidents in 2015. The figure has not fallen significantly over the last decade, with 11,767 instances of serious injury in 2005.
People who suffer serious injuries due to car crashes may be eligible for compensation through the Motor Accidents Compensation Act (1999). In worst-case scenarios where a loved one dies, financial support is often still available.
Western Region Commander Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie said drivers must be educated about the dangers of driving, and Operation WestForce is designed to help.
“Nearly three-quarters of fatal crashes in the region have been on roads with a speed limit of more than 100km/h and more than half of the fatal crashes are single-vehicle crashes,” he stated.
“Over the next six weeks we will be targeting towns within the region, including Dubbo, Tamworth, Armidale, and Bathurst and the highways that run in between them.”
New cars added to police fleet
In an effort to help officers enforce road laws, NSW Police will be adding seven Volvo XC60s and seven Toyota Land Cruisers to its fleet.
Acting Commander of the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said the vehicles will be extremely important for policing rural areas.
“The new vehicles were chosen and fitted out in order to access and police off-road areas where a sedan may have difficulties,” he said.
Assistant Commissioner Corboy said Operation WestForce will see more than double the standard number of patrol cars on the roads, with officers targeting speeding, seatbelt and mobile phone offences, and other crimes.