Police in New South Wales and Victoria claim to have detected a total of close to 30,000 traffic offences during the Christmas and New Year period.
There were operations conducted by police in both states that focused on drunk and drug driving, speeding, mobile phone use, seatbelt use, as well as motorcycle helmet use.
Victoria Police claims to have detected a total of 19,386 traffic offences during its 18-day road safety operation that ran from December 15, 2023 to January 1, 2024.
During its Operation Roadwise, Victoria Police conducted 310,146 preliminary breath tests and 8944 roadside drug tests.
From these tests Victoria Police detected 668 drink driving offences, as well as a further 535 drug driving offences.
Victoria Police issued a total of 7631 speeding offences during the operation. 5854 of these were motorists caught speeding between 10km/h and 25km/h over the speed limit.
In addition, Victoria Police caught 921 motorists for mobile phone offences, 828 motorists for disobeying signs or signals, and 374 motorists for seatbelt offences.
It also impounded a total of 438 vehicles during the operation and caught 1728 unregistered vehicles.
There were a total of 16 lives lost of Victorian roads during December 15, 2023 and January 1, 2024, bringing the total Victorian road toll to 296 lives. This is the highest number of annual fatalities since 2008.
“While the majority of road users have acted responsibly over the Christmas and New Year period, the fact we’ve detected over 19,000 offences in 18 days remains totally unacceptable,” said Road Policing Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir.
“We’ve seen people making deliberate and conscious decisions that significantly increases the likelihood of road trauma, putting themselves and other road users at risk.
“Speeding more than 10km/h over the limit is completely avoidable, and yet we continue to detect so many drivers for this offence.
“You might be in a hurry to reach your destination, but the reality is, you’d rather arrive five or ten minutes later than not at all. It’s simply not worth the risk.
“Despite our warnings of a significant focus on alcohol and drug testing over the period, this did not appear to deter some motorists, with more than 1,000 caught for drink or drug driving offences – this remains a major concern to us.
“We will continue to have a major focus on impaired drivers in 2024, so expect to be tested and face the consequences when you’re caught – we make no apologies for this.
“As we enter a new year, we’re appealing to motorists to reflect on their habits behind the wheel, take responsibility for their actions and prioritise their safety, as well as the safety of their passengers and all other road users.
“We’ll be doing all we can to ensure that we don’t have another year on the roads like we had in 2023.”
In New South Wales, double demerit points applied for certain traffic offences for an 11-day period from December 22, 2023 to January 2, 2024.
New South Wales Police claims it issued 8069 speed infringements and laid 631 drink-driving charges and 1374 drug-driving charges during this double demerit point period.
It also attended 740 “major crashes”, and conducted a total of 342,102 breath tests.
New South Wales Police also notes five people died in crashes over the holiday period, which is technically three fewer than during the operation it conducted last year.
“During the festive season, we saw a number of concerning incidents of dangerous driving, including excessive speed, drink and drug driving and distractions,” said Traffic and Highway Patrol State Operations Commander, Superintendent Anthony Boyd.
“We will continue to have a zero-tolerance approach to law breakers. The end of the double-demerit operation isn’t an excuse to forget the road rules, including the speed limit.
“One death is one too many and we will continue to do everything in our power to keep people safe on our roads through enforcement and education.
“Highway Patrol officers, together with local police, will continue to have a high-visibility presence in metro and regional areas across the state, targeting speeding, fatigue, and drink, drug, dangerous and distracted driving.”