THE carnage and death on Hunter roads would be a catalyst for a royal commission if it occurred in any other industry, a senior cop says.
Hunter highway patrol cluster supervisor Senior Sergeant Tony Grace hit back at those who criticise traffic police as “revenue raising” after deaths and injuries marred the Christmas weekend.
“More than 40 people have lost their lives in the Hunter [in 2016],” he said.
“If that happened in any other industry there would be calls for a royal commission.
“We’re not forcing people to do the wrong thing then jumping on them … we’re just about road safety.”
The festive weekend proved to be a nightmare for NSW police with 20 people injured in 47 major car crashes across the state.
There have been 375 fatalaties on the state’s roads this year, including six since Operation Safe Arrival began on December 16.
It includes the death of a woman, 76, died after her sedan left the Golden Highway at Merriwa, near Scone, about 3.30pm on Christmas Eve.
A young man was also killed in a single-vehicle crash near Taree before dawn on Tuesday.
A neighbour reported hearing the crash at Marlee, north-west of Taree, about 3am.
The only occupant of the car, a 26-year-old man from Taree, was found dead inside his utility.
On Christmas Day, a man suffered critical injuries after his vehicle hit a power pole near Lemon Tree Passage at Port Stephens.
The 52-year-old was trapped for a short time before being airlifted to John Hunter Hospital for emergency treatment.
And on Boxing Day, emergency services were called to a shopping centre in Salamander Bay at around 3.20pm, where a 76-year-old was man trapped under a car.
It is understood the man was dragged for a short distance after being struck by a reversing vehicle.
He was released and flown to John Hunter Hospital in a stable condition.
Officers searched the vehicle and allegedly found the drug ice. The driver was arrested and investigations are continuing.
Senior Sergeant Tony Grace said police pulled over nine drunk drivers in the Central Hunter local area command alone.
“It’s the same number as this time last year,” he said. “But the [blood alcohol readings] are higher. There’s just no excuse.”