Shoalhaven Highway Patrol boss praises drivers

BUSY TIME: Shoalhaven Highway Patrol Commander, Sergeant Mick Tebbutt (left) and Leading Senior Constable Kelly Thomas have been out on the roads over the busy holiday period.

BUSY TIME: Shoalhaven Highway Patrol Commander, Sergeant Mick Tebbutt (left) and Leading Senior Constable Kelly Thomas have been out on the roads over the busy holiday period.

SPEEDING and drug driving are still areas of concern for Shoalhaven Highway Patrol Commander, Sergeant Mick Tebbutt.

Although generally happy with motorists’ behaviour over the Christmas holiday period, Sgt Tebbutt said 177 tickets issued for speeding and 55 for drug driving were way too high.

“Generally motorists were well behaved during Operation Safe Arrival,” he said.

“But it is a concern we still have so many people willing to speed and drive with drugs in their systems.”

Over the 17 days of the operation, local highway patrol officers conducted 23,837 random breath tests, the most ever conducted during an operation, according to Sgt Tebbutt.

“We had about a dozen people charged with drink driving and only a couple were high range,” he said.

“So it appears the drink driving message is finally getting through. But that is still a dozen too many.”

Of concern though was the 55 people out of 117 tested for the month of December who returned a positive reading for drugs in their system while driving vehicles.

Throughout the operation officers issued 471 infringement notices, of which 177 were for speeding.

“That is a big concern,” he said.

“We still have to drive home the message about speeding.

“We were lucky we had a lot of heavy traffic throughout the area over the holiday and that kept a lot of speed down.”

He said it was also pleasing the area only recorded a small number of drivers charged with using their mobile phones while driving or driving without seatbelts.

Unfortunately the area didn’t remain fatality free, with a 36-year-old Sussex Inlet man killed after a semi-trailer flipped and collided with the four-wheel drive he was driving on the Princes Highway near Island Point Road at Tomerong on December 21.

Sgt Tebbutt reminded motorists police would be out in force again for Operation Safe Return, from January 22-26.

Double demerit points would again be in place.

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