10 January 2024

Operation Spoiler: Police ramp up presence to put brakes on Riverina's fatal crash surge

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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policeman aims radar at motorcyclist

The police have launched Operation Spoiler to make Riverina roads safer. Photo: NSW Police.

Extra police officers are set to be deployed in a bid to curb the surge in fatal crashes in the Riverina.

The addition of 90 officers to the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command comes as part of Operation Spoiler.

The officers will monitor roads where serious and fatal crashes have been recorded to conduct road safety operations.

Operation Spoiler was launched on 9 January and will see Traffic and Highway Patrol officers deployed from the Sydney-based sector of the South West command to the Murray River, Riverina and Murrumbidgee Police Districts throughout the year.

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Acting Superintendent Greg Donaldson said it was vital that drivers didn’t become complacent, with many serious crashes and fatalities involving locals.

“There is a mistaken belief that most fatal crashes in rural areas are Sydney-based drivers who don’t know how to drive on rural roads,” Supt Donaldson said.

“Overwhelmingly, the fatalities that we saw through the Murray, Riverina and Murrumbidgee PDs in 2023 were country people and more likely to have been on roads that they know in communities that they are a part of.”

Police will be targeting drunk, drug, dangerous and distracted drivers as part of the operation.

“The most common causal factor was excessive speeding – driving well over the speed limit or not driving to the road conditions,” Supt Donaldson said.

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“Alcohol, drug intake and fatigue were also factors. These impacts are enormous, causing massive trauma to the occupants of the vehicle and leaving lasting traumatic memories to civilians who arrive first, and to first responders.”

In 2023, there were 27 deployments across the Riverina, Murray River and Murrumbidgee Police Districts.

The officers detected 927 speeding offences, issued 516 penalty notices, and conducted 6130 breath tests (six PCAs detected) and 1191 drug tests (28 positive results detected).

Across the three districts last year, there were 30 fatal crashes, which resulted in 35 deaths.

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