30 January 2024

Thousands nabbed for dangerous driving offences over Australia Day long weekend

Police doing roadside breath testing.

NSW Police charged 244 people with drink-driving during the Australia Day long weekend operation. Photo: iStock/Julia Gomina.

NSW Police are disappointed by the significant number of dangerous driving offences detected during the Australia Day long weekend, including in the Illawarra.

During the four-day Operation Australia Day 2024, police saw a concerning number of dangerous driving incidents, including excessive speed, high-range drink-driving and reckless driving.

In the NSW Southern Region alone – which includes Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama – police recorded 960 speeding infringements.

They conducted 25,283 breath tests, resulting in 52 charges, as well as 124 positive drug-driving tests. There were 34 major crashes in the region, resulting in two deaths.

Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander Assistant Commissioner Brett McFadden said police would continue to target behaviour that endangered lives on NSW roads.

“We have continued to see a number of concerning incidents of dangerous driving across the summer holidays, and we will continue to have a zero-tolerance approach to law breakers,” he said.

“The end of the double demerit operations isn’t an excuse to forget the road rules, including the speed limit.

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“Police across the state will continue to have a high-visibility presence, targeting speeding, fatigue, drink, drug, dangerous and distracted driving.”

During the operation, Lake Illawarra Police were conducting stationary random breath tests on Jamberoo Road, Albion Park, just after 10 am on Saturday (27 January), when a motorcycle allegedly failed to stop.

Officers attempted to catch the motorcycle which allegedly overtook at least 12 vehicles and reached speeds of 150 km/h in an 80 km/h zone.

Police terminated the pursuit, with the motorcycle located at a Jamberoo property a short time later.

The rider, a 17-year-old male, was arrested and taken to Lake Illawarra Police Station where he was issued a court attendance notice for police pursuit, dangerous driving, drive while suspended and failing to stop.

His licence was suspended and the motorcycle impounded. He is due to appear in Kiama Local Court on 4 March.

In another incident, Lake Illawarra Traffic and Highway Patrol stopped a vehicle on the Princes Highway at South Nowra about 9:10 pm on Thursday (25 January).

The driver, a 53-year-old woman, allegedly returned a positive result to a roadside breath test. She was arrested and taken to Nowra Police Station where a secondary breath analysis returned an alleged reading of 0.224.

She was issued a court attendance notice for high-range PCA and is due to appear at Nowra Local Court on 20 February.

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On Friday morning (26 January), Mittagong Traffic and Highway Patrol detected a Toyota Kluger allegedly travelling at 158 km/h in a 110 km/h zone.

The vehicle was stopped and the driver, a 23-year-old man, was issued an infringement for exceeding speed by more than 45 km/h. His P2 licence was also suspended for six months, and the vehicle’s registration plates were confiscated for three months.

Across the state, police issued 3682 speed infringements, conducted 122,617 breath tests with 244 people charged with drink-driving, 543 positive roadside drug detections, and attended 302 major crashes, resulting in 110 people injured.

Four people died compared to two in the same period last year.

Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism Yasmin Catley said every life lost on our roads was a tragedy.

“Coming out of the long weekend, the message remains the same: be aware of your surroundings, don’t use your mobile phone, don’t drink or drug drive and make sure you’re not tired when getting behind the wheel of a vehicle,” she said.

“There are still too many people on our roads doing the wrong thing, and we want everyone to get to where they’re going safely.”

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