$50k in fines and it serves them all right

BAD Border drivers are set to cough-up more than $50,000 after police gave out almost 600 tickets for driving offences during the holiday period.

Albury highway patrol officers handed out more than 300 speeding fines and more than 270 infringement notices for other offences during the two-week Operation Safe Arrival, which ended at midnight last night.

Twenty-five people were caught driving without a seatbelt and 12 others were charged with drink-driving, including one man who had a blood alcohol reading of 0.191 as he drove in Albury before Christmas.

“They know that police are out in force and people are still running that risk and that’s an extremely disappointing factor,” Albury highway patrol Sgt Matt Zemaitis said.

With one of the cheapest fines being a $106 whack for speeding up to 10km/h over the limit, it’s estimated the drivers detected during the holiday period could inject at least $50,000 into government coffers.

Police yesterday made no apologies for leaving drivers out-of-pocket.

“It’s for safety,” Sgt Zemaitis said.

“We want people to spend the festive season with their families and their friends. That’s why we’re out there, to continue to reduce that road toll and hope people change their driving behaviour.”

Twelve people were killed on Albury roads in 2013, including a motorcyclist at Khancoban on Saturday.

That’s three more than 2012, going against the state’s downward trend.

Three more people also lost their lives on North East roads last year even as the Victorian road toll slid to a 90-year low.

Sgt Zemaitis said he had the perfect New Year’s resolution.

“In an ideal world, we would have no serious motor vehicle accidents, no fatalities and people obeying the speed limits and that would be the perfect New Year’s resolution,” he said.

He said fatigue, speed and alcohol were the major killers of drivers in the Albury area in 2013.

Sgt Zemaitis called for people to help police reduce the road toll by alerting police to bad driving behaviour.

“If you know someone who continually drink drives, you can contact Albury highway patrol or Crime Stoppers (1800 333 000) if you wish to remain anonymous to report these people and we will actively pursue it,” he said.

- The deaths of two men in car crashes in Victoria and Tasmania have taken the national holiday road toll to 25.

A man in his 80s died after his car struck a median strip and flipped on its roof in Hastings, in Melbourne about 3.45pm yesterday.

In Tasmania a man died when his car hit a tree and burst into flames in Powranna south of Launceston at about 3.30pm.

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