Double demerits as holiday blitz begins 

POLICE will launch their annual Christmas crackdown   with a simple message to Hunter motorists: ‘‘Don’t let us come to your house’’.

The statewide road blitz, titled Operational Safe Arrival, begins today and will run until January 4, and double demerits will be in place until New Year’s Day. 

Northern region traffic co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Justin Cornes said police were hoping to avoid having to deliver tragic news to Hunter families. 

‘‘That’s the main message we want to get across this year – Christmas is about spending time with your family or friends, not in the back of an ambulance, in intensive care or in a police cell,’’ he said.

‘‘Drink-driving, speeding and fatigue are the main killers and that’s what we’ll be focusing on in the Hunter during the holiday period. 

‘‘You can expect to see a highly visible police force on the roads and you will be twice as likely to be breath-tested, have your speed checked or be spoken to by police during the operation.’’

Senior Sergeant Cornes said additional police had been deployed from Sydney and all regional highway-patrol resources would be in use over the holidays.  

He said dangerous behaviour, similar to that seen during the 2011-12 campaign, would not be tolerated.

Last year’s 15-day operation in the Hunter was marred by allegations including travelling at more than 180km/h in a 90km/h zone; driving a golf cart while three times over the limit; and drunkenly changing seats with a passenger as police watched as the vehicle drives over a concrete barrier in a pub car park. 

‘‘Those motorists who display dangerous and selfish driving are not only putting their lives at risk but other road users as well,’’ he said.

Nineteen people died on NSW roads during last year’s blitz. 

Police conducted 510,783 breath tests and charged 812 motorists with drink-driving; 12,612 drivers were caught speeding; more than 1100 were fined for not wearing their seatbelt; and police issued 18,950 infringement notices for other offences. 

Operation Safe Arrival begins today and will wrap up at 11.59pm on January 4. 

Double demerit points for speeding, seatbelt and helmet offences will be in place from today until 11.59pm on January1. 

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