Hunter Valley Police out in force during April 2018 school holidays

DRIVE SAFELY: Senior Constable Amy Sweeney and Chief Inspector Peter Vromans from Cessnock Police Station.
DRIVE SAFELY: Senior Constable Amy Sweeney and Chief Inspector Peter Vromans from Cessnock Police Station.

The Hunter Valley Police District is taking an ‘every officer, every shift’ approach to traffic issues throughout the April school holidays.

More than 100 lives have been lost on NSW roads already this year – including five in the Hunter Valley, the equal-highest in the Northern Region.

Extra traffic is expected in the Hunter Valley during the holidays, and police are calling on all road users to slow down and travel safely.

Chief Inspector Peter Vromans, from Cessnock Police, said drivers need to follow the road rules in order to return home safely.

“Don’t drink and drive, don’t take drugs and drive, stay within the speed limit,” he said.

“On long trips, have a break every two hours, and don’t drive if you feel fatigued.”

Chief Inspector Vromans said every officer in the district will be conducting breath testing on motorists on each shift during the school holidays.

“People could be stopped by any police car,” he said.

High-risk offenders and black spots will be targeted.

The week before Easter, NSW Police launched Operation Merret, an unorthodox and proactive approach to road policing, aimed at educating and empowering the public to make the right decisions on the state’s roads.

Chief Inspector Vromans said in the first three weeks of Operation Merret, officers from Hunter Valley Police District detected 18 drivers for PCA offences, 12 people for driving with disqualified licences and 20 people for not wearing a seat belt.

“It is clear that a small proportion of the community continue to unnecessarily put themselves at risk,” he said.

In the four weeks since Operation Merret began, NSW Police have issued more than 30,000 infringements across the state for a variety of offences including speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, and using a mobile phone while driving.

NSW Police Force Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said all road users need to take personal responsibility and stay alert over the busy school holiday period.

“While we have seen a lot of positive feedback from the community, it is sad to see that the 30,000-plus infringements represent 30,000 people who made a decision to put themselves and others at risk over the past four weeks,” she said.

“With an increase in road users over the school holidays, we are urging all road users to be vigilant and take personal responsibility for their actions on the road.”

The school holidays end on April 30.

Meanwhile, Chief Inspector Vromans said the Hunter Valley Police District will start an operation regarding unregistered trail bikes in the coming weeks.