Motorists on the north coast and across the state are being urged to stay alert as extra police take to the roads in a major road-safety operation for this Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
Police will be targeting drink and drug driving as well as mobile-phone use and other distraction offences during the annual Operation Stay Alert campaign, which begins at midnight tonight (Friday) and runs until 11.59pm (Monday).
, and includes double-demerit points.
Police say they’re extremely concerned at the number of motorists driving under the influence of drugs, with one in 13 drivers being charged for drug driving.
They say that statistics show that of those tested for drugs, 95 percent return a positive result to more than one drug.
Since the start of the year, 146 people have lost their lives in 136 crashes across the state, with alcohol and drug abuse a factor in more than 30 per cent of these deaths.
As part of the weekend’s operation, police are urging motorists not to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and maintain alertness while on the road.
Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said the long weekend is meant for family and friends to get together and enjoy their time and urged motorists to be aware of the five factors that can lead to fatalities.
“Fatigue, impairment as a result of alcohol or drug use, seatbelts, speed and distraction are all risks that can lead to tragedy while on the road. I urge everyone to take care, drive responsibly and respect other motorists and obey the road rules,’ she said.
‘Drinking alcohol or using drugs and then getting behind the wheel is a recipe for disaster. Plan ahead and find an alternative method of transportation if you plan to drink. It is just not worth it,’ Deputy Commissioner Burn said.
‘Staying alert is the key – do not drink and drive, put down the mobile phone, ensure you are well-rested, and ensure you can control your vehicle.
‘As a motorist, your focus should always be on the road; not on the mobile phone, GPS, music or any other distraction. It only takes a split-second for a life to change forever.
‘Those that are prosecuted by the police during Operations Stay Alert for drink or drug-driving, speeding, not wearing a seat belt or proper helmet, driving tired, or for being distracted by a mobile phone, need to think about those that have already lost their lives on our roads this year, and hopefully learn from the experience. The next life saved will hopefully be yours,’ Deputy Commissioner Burn said.
‘In addition to marked and unmarked police vehicles on our roads this weekend, our emergency service colleagues and community supporters will be helping us to highlight our #StayAlert messaging on social media as a reminder to ‘#StayAlert to Stay Alive’ on our roads,’ she said.
Officers will be conducting high visibility patrols, mobile and stationary random breath tests and random drug tests.
Deputy premier and police minister, Troy Grant, said too many lives are unnecessarily lost on our roads.
‘I have seen too many accidents, particularly on country roads, which simply could have been avoided. I have comforted families left devastated as a result of speed, alcohol or drugs and fatigue. The message is simple, obey the road rules and drive to the conditions,’ Mr Grant said.
He said the government had delivered 100 additional officers and a further 50 vehicles fitted with better technology including front and rear car cameras, automatic numberplate recognition and speed enforcement systems.