Police target drugged drivers over Easter

NSW Police will crack down on drugged drivers on the north coast this Easter weekend following concerns many people are getting behind the wheel while affected by the drug ‘ice’ (methamphetamine).

Country regions will be targeted as police try to catch drunk and drugged drivers during Operation Tortoise, which runs from midnight on Thursday to midnight on Easter Monday.

Police will deploy seven major random breath buses plus another eight smaller vehicles across the state.

While most of the 1,584 drivers detected with drugs in their system in 2014 were found in metropolitan NSW, it was mainly due to the larger police presence, NSW Police assistant commissioner John Hartley said.

‘That’s why we are decentralising our equipment to country areas,’ assistant commissioner Hartley said on Wednesday.

The drug ice is of particular concern to police, accounting for nearly 60 per cent of all drug driver-related arrests.

NSW Police commissioner Andrew Scipione says one in 17 of all drivers randomly pulled over are testing positive for methamphetamine.

‘People are more aggressive (when on ice), certainly more likely to get involved in arguments and violent-type events,’ Mr Scipione said.

‘So when you take that through to the road, we’ve got all the issues of people not sleeping, therefore fatigued, certainly more violent and aggressive and these are all the ingredients of a potential disaster.’

There will more than 1,200 highway police officers patrolling roads in an effort to reduce the Easter road toll.

Double demerit points will also apply for speeding, seat belt and helmet offences.

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