SPEED continues to be the biggest killer on the Shoalhaven’s roads.
The NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn, who as one of her duties oversees the operation of the Highway Patrol, was in the Shoalhaven on Friday as part of a whistlestop tour of the region and revealed speeding continues to be the biggest killer on the region’s roads.
“Our road data analysis for the Shoalhaven shows the clear issue down here continues to be speed,” she said.
“Drug driving is clearly an issue but speed is the main reason for fatal and serious injury collisions in the Shoalhaven.
“The message we are trying to get across, that people need to slow down, clearly isn’t getting through.
“We definitely need people to slow down and drive to conditions.
“That message is clearly not getting through.”
Acting Shoalhaven Local Area Commander Inspector Mark Robinson said once the upgrades to the Princes Highway were completed he expected the statistics to improve.
“We have a lot of tourists coming down, creating a lot of traffic,” he said.
“Certainly road works slows it down, there is limited overtaking, but in time once the road improves hopefully some of those statistics will improve with it.
“Locals know at times there is a great deal of congestion, add to that bad weather which only contributes more to accidents and people’s frustrations.
“The improvements to the road will help as well.”
But he agreed drivers needed to slow down.
While in the region, Deputy Commissioner Burn also met with Shoalhaven Highway Patrol officers.
“It was a chance to see how they are getting on, to see if there was anything they need and listen to any concerns they have,” she said.
Highway patrol operations over the Easter period from the Australia and New Zealand road safety operation, Operation Crossroads revealed 11 per cent of almost 6000 road users tested for drug use over the five-day operation returned positive readings.
“That is a major concern,” she said.
“With our random drug testing program rolling out at the moment we are seeing one in 23 testing positive for a range of drugs but often the main one is ice or methamphetamine.
“There is absolutely no way that anyone under the influence of that drug is capable of driving a motor vehicle safely.
“This is not just a problem in the metro areas. It is as much a concern in the Shoalhaven and rural areas.”
Deputy Commissioner Burn said the drug testing program was increasing and by 2017 would be double what officers are currently doing.
“We are rolling out further equipment,” she said.
“In the Shoalhaven and South Coast we have regular deployments with the drug testing busses and over the next two years we will be acquiring more equipment, such as the Drager Drug Test 5000.
“It’s similar to the roadside breath test - if we do a roadside breath test and if it is positive the person is taken back to the station for analysis.
“We are looking at more roadside drug testing and then taking people back to the station to use the Drager for analysis.
“I’m not sure when the rollout will be here but it will be within the next 12 months as it is a two-year program.
“In the meantime we will continue our random mobile drug bus deployments.”