In Law & Order

Southern Region Commander Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch

Southern Region Commander Takes A ‘Hands On’ Approach To Road Safety As The Region’s Road Toll Continues To Rise

Southern Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch, has taken immediate action to personally address the region’s rising road toll, following the deaths of six people on southern NSW roads during the first week of ‘OPERATION SAFE ARRIVAL’.

OPERATION SAFE ARRIVAL – the annual state-wide Christmas/New Year traffic enforcement campaign – commenced at 0001 hrs last Friday (18 December) with double demerits coming into effect for all speeding and seatbelt offences yesterday (Wednesday 23 December).

The annual NSW road toll stands at 452 – 82 more than for the same period in 2008. So far in 2009, 98 people have been killed on Southern Region roads.

“This figure represents 98 people who will not be home for Christmas this year. My officers do not want to be attending the scene of your road tragedy and conveying the news of your unnecessary death to your loved ones.” Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said.

In support of the local initiatives Police are implementing to ensure the safety of motorists on the region’s roads, Assistant Commissioner Murdoch has worked side-by-side with frontline Police at six local area commands over the past two days and will conclude his three-day working tour today with speed enforcement duties at Gundagai.

Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said that he did not hesitate to get back onto the streets to tackle the road toll in his region first hand.

“I wanted to get out there myself to work the roads targeting those people who, despite being told over and over again, are still clearly showing a blatant disregard for the road rules.”

“The selfish behaviour of these motorists, through speeding, drink driving and other road related offences, puts everyone at risk. This is unacceptable.”Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said.


  • Goulburn Local Area Command:

Assistant Commissioner Murdoch, the Goulburn Local Area Commander, Chief Superintendent Peter Gillam and Duty Officer Inspector Evan Quarmby worked with highway patrol officers at a Heavy Vehicle Inspection station at Marulan.

During the time Assistant Commissioner Murdoch spent here, 10 heavy vehicles were inspected for correct and accurate maintenance of log books, fatigue management, electronic recording of average vehicle speed and vehicle weight compliance. Assistant Commissioner Murdoch then spent time with a highway patrol officer conducting mobile radar speed enforcement on roads between Marulan and Collector.

  • Cootamundra Local Area Command:

Assistant Commissioner Murdoch and the Cootamundra Local Area Commander, Superintendent Maria Rustja, joined highway patrol officers in stationary ‘Lidar’ speed enforcement on the Olympic Highway at Cootamundra. Assistant Commissioner Murdoch and Superintendent Rustja conducted random breath testing of a number of motorists. One defect notice (non-roadworthy vehicle) was issued during the period.

  •  Wagga Wagga Local Area Command:

Assistant Commissioner Murdoch, the Wagga Wagga Local Area Command Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Rod Smith and Duty Officer, Inspector Paul Huxtable, joined highway patrol and general duties Police in conducting 196 random breath tests of motorists on Pearson Street, Wagga Wagga.

8 infringement notices were issued to motorists during the period, for offences including not displaying ‘P’ plates, unlicensed driver and unregistered trailer.


  • Griffith Local Area Command:

Assistant Commissioner Murdoch, the Wagga Wagga Local Area Commander, Superintendent Michael Rowan and Duty Officer, Inspector Gordon Dunlop, participated in a major road safety enforcement operation at Gillenbah (near Sturt and Newell Highways, Narrandera) that has been running over several days.

The operation involves local (Griffith) highway patrol officers as well as highway patrol officers from other Southern Region Commands and RTA inspectors.

The operation focuses on driver impairment (alcohol, drugs, fatigue) driver compliance (seatbelts, licences) and vehicle compliance (trailers and caravans – properly attached lighting, signals, chains, and compliance with weight restrictions)

During the time Assistant Commissioner Murdoch spent at the site 150 random breath tests were conducted and motorists were detected committing the following offences: overweight caravan, unlicensed driver, unregistered/uninsured vehicle and a motorist suspected of driving whilst drug impaired was detained for a blood/urine test.

  •  Cootamundra Local Area Command:

Assistant Commissioner Murdoch spent time with a highway patrol officer conducting mobile radar speed enforcement around the Finley area.

  •  Albury Local Area Command:

Assistant Commissioner Murdoch joined highway patrol officers in conducting stationary random breath testing.


Heading into Day Three of his working tour, Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said, “My officers are out in force and if you are doing the wrong thing there is a very good chance that you will be detected and dealt with but the bottom line is – Police cannot drive your car for you. I am appealing to all road users in the Region to make sure that they will be alive to spend Christmas with their loved ones – drive to both the road rules and prevailing conditions, display restraint and use common sense.”


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