The NSW Government has allocated $4.8 million to roll out 28 new highway patrol vehicles across the state to crack down on dangerous drivers and help drive down the road toll.
The vehicles are funded through the Community Road Safety Fund where speed and red light cameras fines go – directly back into important road safety initiatives such as high visibility police enforcement.
The new high visibility vehicles are being deployed to key crash hotspots on major routes and highways across the state.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Troy Grant welcomed the investment in greater safety for our community and additional resources for Highway Patrol officers.
“We are making this important announcement at a time when we’ve lost a tragic 283 people on our roads so far this year, 37 more than this time last year and 124 of those are because of speed related crashes,” Mr Grant said.
“This year there has been a significant increase in fatal crashes on regional roads and to address this spike many of these vehicles will be out in the bush – particularly on highways leading in and out of Sydney.
“Of the 28 new vehicles, 14 have already been delivered and are on the road in Bathurst, Wagga Wagga, Tamworth, Armidale, Tweed, Dubbo, Byron Bay, Grafton, the Hunter, Nowra, Goulburn, Gundagai, Albury and Lismore. The remaining 14 vehicles will be delivered progressively by next year.
“Drivers who continue to flout the law while families are torn apart by loss of life on the road will have no excuse when they are caught – irresponsible behavior will not be tolerated on NSW roads.”
Minister for Roads Duncan Gay said these highly visible patrol cars are going to be out on highways across the state where a speeding crash is almost guaranteed to have catastrophic consequences.
“Motorists who flout the law might think big of themselves revving around in their new set of wheels but I am sure being pulled over by the boys and girls in blue and a whopping fine is going to bring them back down to reality – speeding kills,” Mr Gay said.
“If you are driving north on the Pacific Highway or south on the Princes Highway, you have 28 new reasons to stick to the speed limit.
“I’ll be happy if these vehicles don’t generate one dollar in fines – we’re hoping the deterrence factor alone will save lives.”
NSW Traffic & Highway Patrol Command Acting Assistant Commissioner David Driver said the National Routes initiative would greatly assist road safety enforcement for the benefit of all road users.
“We now have more highway patrol vehicles on our roads, with more officers, more often,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Driver said.
“This, along with other joint initiatives such as Motorcycle Response Teams, Mobile Drug Testing and Enhanced Enforcement Programs, this gives police the greatest scope we’ve ever had in on-road enforcement activities.
“With this greater capability on rural roads, the National Routes program will give police greater coverage.
“With 186 fatalities on rural roads so far this year, compared to 157 this time last year, those driving in country NSW will see these National Route vehicles and hopefully think twice about their driving behaviour.”
NRMA President Kyle Loades said over 90 per cent of NRMA Members supported having more Police on the state’s roads.
“Clearly marked, visible highway patrols are the most effective way to crack down all forms of dangerous driving and is a crucial tool in the campaign to save lives,” Mr Loades said.
“The NRMA strongly supports the introduction of more Police on our roads and we are pleased that it is being funded through the Community Road Safety Fund. Set up by the NSW Government, the fund was an initiative of the NRMA and sends a message to the community that enforcement is about saving lives – not revenue raising.”
The new Highway Patrol fleet will include seven brand new 4WD vehicles which will be used further afield on regional roads, where standard highway patrol vehicles cannot go.