P-plater drinking, driving at 177km/h

Wodonga highway patrol Sen-Constable Paul Marshall checking the speed of motorists on the Bandiana Link as the long weekend wraps up. Picture: TARA GOONAN

Wodonga highway patrol Sen-Constable Paul Marshall checking the speed of motorists on the Bandiana Link as the long weekend wraps up. Picture: TARA GOONAN

A DRUNK P-plate driver reached speeds of 177km/h on the Hume Freeway while drinking, police allege.

Officers pulled over the 21-year-old man near Ettamogah on Monday night after several reports of erratic driving.

He allegedly failed a roadside breath test and returned a reading of 0.125 at Albury police station.

Sgt Matt Zemaitis said he was astounded by the driver’s actions, which came at the end of a long weekend traffic blitz.

“He allegedly had open alcohol, which he was consuming while driving,” he said.

“We’re absolutely asto nded someone would even consider driving at that speed and put the safety of others in danger.

“Innocent road users doing the right thing were at considerable risk.

“It was very fortunate nothing too serious, no accident, occurred as a result of his behaviour.

“There is a possibility he will face a jail term if found guilty.”

Albury police conducted 3617 breath tests over the long weekend, with eight drivers exceeding the blood alcohol limit.

A total of 107 notices were issued for infringements including mobile phone use, with 82 people caught speeding and three were caught not wearing seatbelts.

“It’s disappointing considering the message was out there for people to make other arrangements if they were going to drink,” Sgt Zemaitis said.

“The majority of people heeded that advice, unfortunately a few chose not to.”

Despite the incidents, Sgt Zemaitis was glad there were no fatalities.

Two lives were lost in NSW and one in Victoria over the weekend.

“We had no serious motor vehicle accidents and we were fatality free in our region, which was a very pleasing aspect,” he said.

Victorian officers also conducted a roads blitz, with 308 offences detected in the region covering Wodonga, Wangaratta, Falls Creek, Bright and Corryong.

Sen-Sgt Darren Wittingslow, of Wangaratta police, said 12 motorists had exceeded the blood alcohol limit or tested positive to drugs.

“But we had no fatalities over the weekend, and given the high flow of traffic that went through our division we were pretty pleased with the conduct of drivers overall,” he said.

“There were several serious injury collisions, but nothing life threatening.

“It is a little disappointing we had 12 drivers processed for impairment offences, but most people got the message.”

In Wodonga, three people were caught drink-driving, eight motorists were unlicensed and one vehicle was impounded.

Officers conducted about 4000 breath tests across the region.

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