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Police disappointed in region’s results

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New changes to drink and drug driving laws came into effect this week, but police are concerned it may not make a difference after “disappointing” results from a blitz on poor driver behaviour in the state’s north.

From Monday, motorists caught drink driving in NSW, at any level, may now have their licence suspended immediately.

This includes a first-time, lower-range offence, which is set to prompt a three-month suspension coupled with a significant fine, currently $561.

Drug driving will attract the same penalty for first-time offences, while a second or subsequent offence will result in a court appearance as well as licence disqualification and a fine.

Northern Region Operations Manager, Detective Superintendent Wayne Humphrey, said drivers had to change their attitudes.

Operation Chrome took place on Friday and Saturday across the Northern Region, which is based in Newcastle and extends from the Central Coast to the Queensland border.

The operation also included the state’s Southern and Western Regions as police targeted motorists who were speeding, drink and drug driving, not wearing seatbelts, using a mobile phone behind the wheel, and under fatigue on rural roads.

Superintendent Humphrey said officers made about 150 arrests for drink driving, 100 of which were in the Northern Region alone.

The operation saw 10,800 random breath tests and 500 drug tests conducted, just under 700 traffic infringements issued for various offences, and 16 driving under the influence of a drug offences.

“It is clear people are just not getting the message about drink driving,” he told Newcastle Weekly.

“To have 100 PCAs [Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol] – the 0.05 limit has been in place for 38 years, it’s been around long enough.

“I don’t know if people are complacent, but those figures are inexcusable for the Northern Region.

“I think [the new laws] will free up a lot of time in court, but these results indicate to me that it doesn’t matter what you do, people don’t seem to take any personal responsibility for their actions.”

Visit roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au for more information on the changes to drink and drug driving laws.

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