More police on Pacific Highway
Matt Deans | 8th September 2009
COFFS Coast highway patrol officers are nabbing more offending motorists than ever before and watch out, because their ranks are about to be boosted.
On average, 20 drivers a week are being booked and charged by local police for speeding, drink driving and other traffic offences.
As a result, the Coffs Harbour Local Court is being inundated with traffic offenders and processing way more convicted drink drivers than the State average. Given the volume of road offences, the NSW Government has identified Coffs Harbour as an area of high priority for travelling highway patrol resources.
It has released a 30-point plan aimed at curbing the State's rising road toll, saying it will put more officers on the roads and investigate new ways of using speed cameras.
Already this year, 315 lives have been lost on NSW roads.
“That is 63 deaths more than this time last year,” Police Minister Tony Kelly said.
Locally police say they are seeing less fatal accidents on the highway, but more deaths on back roads.
As the Government vowed to get tough on repeat offenders, 32 people yesterday faced traffic charges in court.
Coffs Clarence Highway Patrol Supervisor Sergeant Brett Jackson said more highway patrol officers would be deployed to the State's traffic command unit.
Those officers, he said, will man the Pacific Highway, over long weekends and school holidays.
“For local highway patrol officers, alcohol is the priority,” Sgt. Jackson said.
“Here at Coffs Harbour we are the second highest area for PCA offences in the Northern region, between Newcastle and Tweed Heads,” he said.
Roads Minister Michael Daley says the Government's plan follows a recent roundtable involving police.
“We're not afraid of tackling the tough issues, but we will take the time to make sure our new strategies are workable on the ground,” Mr Daley said.
The new strategy will also focus on speeding motorists on the Pacific Highway.
“It looks like speed has been a factor in a large proportion of these fatal crashes,” Mr Kelly said.
“And it's this reckless type of behaviour that we have to put an end to.”