Police take to the air to target road safety – Operation Safe Arrival 2009

Monday, 14 Dec 2009 12:51pm

***Editors Note: footage of the plane in flight will be available via Channel Ten. Stills are available by contacting the Police Media Unit on (02) 8263 6100 ***

With the Christmas season upon us NSW Police have today unveiled two new initiatives to help combat the growing road toll and make sure everyone makes it home safely.

Police will be out in force from midnight Friday 18 December until 11.59pm Sunday 3 January 2010 as part of Operation Safe Arrival, the annual Christmas/New Year road safety campaign, and this year motorists will be targeted from the sky –with the use of a fixed wing plane.

“This operation sees NSW Police use a fixed-wing plane to target speeding, fatigue and other dangerous driving behaviours from the sky,” said Commissioner Andrew Scipione.

“The ‘Cessna 206H Stationair’ will be crewed by trained traffic police who will use the plane to monitor drivers from the air, observing signs of fatigue.”

“Importantly also on board the Cessna is an approved device that measures the time taken for a vehicle to travel between special lines that have been marked on the road by the RTA. Where police on board detect a speeding offence a ticket will be issued by mail to the registered owner. Police will also have the capability to coordinate ground- based officers to intercept the vehicle if necessary,” Commissioner Scipione said.

“Road users should know, police are now everywhere targeting speeding – even the sky. The annual NSW road toll currently stands at 444 – 93 more than the same time last year. We don’t want to see more people die.

“Just as there are police cars on the road, we will now have a plane in the sky. You never know when police are watching you.

“On average nine people die on our state’s roads every week. This means that during the two week period that Operation Safe Arrival runs, 18 people will not be there for Christmas, for New Year, for the family get togethers and the happy times that people celebrate at this time of year,” said Commissioner Scipione.

Traffic Services Commander, Assistant Commissioner John Hartley, has re-iterated the Commissioner’s message that police will be out in force.

“Double demerit points will be in effect from midnight next Wednesday, 23 December 2009 and concluding on Sunday 3 January 2010 for all speeding and seatbelt offences,” Assistant Commissioner Hartley said.

“If you break the law this Christmas/New Year period you will be caught. Police will be everywhere, even in the air, targeting the main roads and the backstreets. Irresponsible driving behaviour will not be tolerated. We want everyone to get home safely this holiday period.

“Police are on target to conduct four million breath tests this year. If you plan to drink, do not get in the car and drive, you will be caught and you will be dealt with and feel the full force of the law,” said Assistant Commissioner Hartley

In partnership with the NRMA police have today also launched a poster campaign focusing on reminding drivers of the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving.

“You’re four times more likely to crash when you’re on a mobile phone. Each week police catch around 755 drivers using their mobile phones in their vehicles. The penalty for using your phone is up to $338 and 4 demerit points.

“Our message couldn’t be clearer; don’t risk your life, don’t risk other people’s lives- when you are driving, keep your attention on the road, pull over if you want to take a call or read a text message,” Assistant Commissioner Hartley said.

The posters will be distributed to all Local Area Commands throughout the state for police to distribute to local community groups and businesses.

Operation Safe Arrival will run throughout the state from 0001 Friday 18 December until 2359 on Sunday 3 January, double demerits will apply from 0001 Wednesday 23 December until 2359 on Sunday 3 January.