Police to target drug-drivers

ONE in three drivers drug-tested had taken illicit substances before driving, Operation Crossroads has revealed.

The road safety blitz, which ended on Friday, showed that although police did 56 per cent fewer drug tests, there was only a 4 per cent drop in positive results.

The revelation has prompted police to renew their focus on drug-drivers this year.

Inspector Darren Hopkins, of Northern District Support Services, said the proportionately higher number of drug-drivers caught during this campaign was a concern.

``As for traffic enforcement in the North, that is something we probably need to focus on,'' he said.

``We will have a look at some of the crashes and blood test results from those and see if alcohol and-or drugs were an issue.

``There may need to be a stronger focus on that during the next 12 months.

``These short, sharp operations tend to highlight some aspects of road safety and we will look at those results.''

Speeding drivers dominated the traffic fines issued, with a 30 per cent spike in speedsters.

Inspector Hopkins said the jump in speeding drivers and traffic fines might be an indicator of police work to prevent crashes during the holiday season.

``Speeding is one of the major causes of crashes,'' he said.

``Similarly, an increase of 9 per cent for drink-drivers was disappointing, given that the number of random breath tests was down by 6 per cent.''

The operation ended with the same number of fatalities, three, that was reported during the previous campaign.

Apart from the fatality at Powranna on Thursday, there were no serious crashes for the first three days of the New Year, while eight crashes required a short hospital visit.

Inspector Hopkins said overall, police were happy with road users' behaviour and compliance with the road rules.

During Operation Crossroads, from December 23 to Friday, 27 people were killed on Australian roads.

The national 2012-13 Christmas-New Year road toll was 48.

Final Operation Crossroads results, compared with  last year: 

  Random breath tests conducted: 29,676, down 6 per cent.

  Drink-driving offences detected: 125, up 9 per cent.

  Drug tests conducted: 76, down 56 per cent.

  Positive drug tests: 25, down 4 per cent.

  Licence offences detected: 194, up 4 per cent.

  Traffic fines issued: 1842, up 23 per cent.

  Speeding offences detected: 1391, up 30 per cent.

  Vehicles clamped or confiscated: 25, up 14 per cent.

  Fatalities: 3, no change.

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