Sergeant Dallas Leven of Grafton highway patrol said results from a recent police blitz on drink driving suggested many Clarence Valley drivers were still ignoring the risks of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Sergeant Dallas Leven of Grafton highway patrol said results from a recent police blitz on drink driving suggested many Clarence Valley drivers were still ignoring the risks of driving under the influence of alcohol. Adam Hourigan

Drink driver numbers upsetting

AN ALARMING number of local drivers continue to ignore the blood-soaked realities of drink driving, with 17 people arrested for driving under the influence in the Coffs Clarence area during a recent police crackdown.

Operation: Drink Drive was a statewide police blitz on drink driving offences, which ran from February 24 to February 26.

In that short time frame, many drivers were caught doing the wrong thing on roads in the Coffs-Clarence area, much to the dismay of local police officers like Sergeant Dallas Leven, from Grafton highway patrol.

“The operation was specifically targeting drink drivers, but it also included other risk factors as well, such as not wearing seat-belts and speeding,” Sgt Leven said.

“There were nine seat-belt tickets issued, 82 other infringement notices were issued, 116 speeding fines were issued, 1125 breath tests were conducted, 17 people were arrested for drink driving and there were 30 other traffic charges laid during the operation (within the Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command).”

Sgt Leven said the figures, particularly the drink driving offences, dismayed police and showed repeated warnings from emergency services about the risks of drink driving were still falling on deaf ears.

“We’re disappointed with the people who chose to ignore warnings in relation to drinking and driving and endangered themselves and other road users, especially considering the data that shows drink driving is a major contributing factor in serious and fatal collisions,” he said.

“If you’re in the low-range (blood alcohol content), you double the risk of having a crash.

"If you’re mid-range you’re four times more likely to have a crash and if you have a high range reading, you’re 25 times the risk of having a crash.”

Sgt Leven said the issue of drink driving remained a major problem in the Clarence Valley.

“Unfortunately, Coffs Clarence has one of the highest rates of drink driving in the state, each operation we seem to have a high number of people detected, so we’ll continue to run these operations and continue to make drink driving a focus for our staff.”

Statewide results told a similar tale with more than 70 people charged with drink driving offences across NSW during the operation, with hundreds of speeding and other offences also recorded.

NSW Police Traffic Services Commander, Assistant Commissioner John Hartley, said people needed to wake-up to the risks of drink driving.

“It’s widely known that alcohol significantly impairs one’s driving skills – yet there are people out there in the community who continue to put lives at risk by getting behind the wheel drunk,” Assistant Commissioner Hartley said.

“It’s a risk not worth taking – you do not want to end up with blood on your hands because you chose to drive after a boozy night out.”



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