New drink-drive strategy hailed a success

POLICE say bad weather and a new strategy were behind the reduced number of random breath tests this Easter.

Operation Crossroads saw 21,000 fewer RBTs conducted this year compared with 2013.

However, police are hailing their new targeted approach as a success given the number of drink-drivers nabbed.

The annual road safety blitz saw 59 drink-drivers detected out of 12,065 RBTs compared with 71 drunk-motorists from 33,450 RBTs last year.

``The targeted approach is actually catching those people so the message to the public is if you're going to drink and drive you're going to get caught,'' the officer in charge of Crossroads Inspector Shane LeFevre said.

Tasmania Police has previously indicated it turning to small focus targeted drink-driving operations.

``We have an intelligence system that will allow us to allocate our resources more towards where drink-drivers are, where they are coming from, where they are going and what time,'' he said.

Inspector LeFevre said the large number of speeding motorists was a big disappointment.

More than 800 speeding offences, a 40 per cent increase on last year, were detected between Thursday and Monday.

But Inspector LeFevre said the spike was the likely result of police throwing more resources at detecting speeders.

``I certainly wouldn't give the motoring public 10 out of 10 because of the number of speeders and drink-drivers,'' he said. 

``[However], I don't think we've seen just an excess number of speeders, I just think we've had more people out catching them.''

Road Safety Advisory Council chairman Jim Cox said the numbers demonstrated a lot of people ``still weren't getting the message''.

``It reinforces what police have been saying all along _ if you break the law you're going to get caught,'' Mr Cox said.

This year's Operation Crossroads was marred by the death of a Chinese tourist the first day of operations.

The 32-year-old passenger died after her car collided with another vehicle at Crayfish Creek in the North-West. 

The cause of the crash, which involved her husband and a Burnie man, is unknown. 

``The fatality on the first day is a real tragedy and that stays in your mind all the way through the operation,'' Inspector LeFevre said. 

``It should be at the forefront for the motoring public that driving is dangerous and we do need to be careful, especially over the long holidays.''

Police will now target defective vehicles over the next few weeks ensuring tyre treads, windscreen wipers and headlights are in working order as winter approaches.

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