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Police urge people to take care this Aus Day

Murray River Police District western sectors Inspector Paul Huggett. Shot for Echuca Moama magazine for frontline feature about the challenges managing the NSW border during Covid-19 restrictions. Photo: Cath Grey Photo by Cath Grey

Police are planning to crack down on any unlawful behaviour in Echuca and Moama on Australia Day as tourists swarm to the region to celebrate the national holiday.

Moama and Echuca police will be running traffic operations that will focus on drivers who are distracted, fatigued, speeding or using digital devices while driving.

Moama Police Inspector Paul Huggett said there were a range of “common” unlawful activities during the holiday period.

Insopector Huggett said things such as texting and driving, drink driving and impatient driving would be on the police radar.

“Things like drivers darting through an intersection when it’s not safe or overtaking when it’s not safe, due to impatience,” he said.

Inspector Huggett said everyone in the vehicle was responsible for their own safety.

“It’s incumbent on everyone in the vehicle to monitor what the driver’s doing,” he said.

“If the parent is teaching the kid poor driving behaviour, like texting and driving, then it becomes normalised in that kid’s life.

“Whoever is in the car should be challenging the driver — whether it’s about texting and driving or even just asking when was your last break? Are you tired? Let’s pull up here.”

Echuca Police will be running traffic operations as part of the statewide operation “Amity”.

Echuca Police Acting Senior Sergeant Paul Gordon said: “safety is paramount for all people on our roads at the moment.”

Acting Sen Sgt Gordon advised that public disorder, as a result of excessive drinking, was another area of concern.

“Obviously if people are drinking excessive alcohol and then mixing that with the hot weather it’s not a good combination. It leads to trouble,” he said.

As well as running traffic operations, Echuca police will be utilising resources to identify “public disorder and any unruly behaviour around licensed premises and along the river.”

“We encourage people to come here and have a good time, just don’t turn that good time into a bad time by drinking to excess and misbehaving.

“We want people here because the town needs that injection of tourism, but we also want people to be able to get here and get home safely.”

Echuca and Moama police urged travellers to plan their trips, take breaks throughout the journey and consider water safety precautions when spending time at the river.