A series of horror car accidents has pushed the national holiday road toll to six, with fears more will die unless motorists slow down and stop drink driving.
Three deaths have occurred on Victorian roads, while NSW, South Australia and Tasmania have recorded on each.
Police have saturated country roads and highways as part of a high visibility operation designed to reduce the number of accidents triggered by drink-driving, speeding, fatigue and distraction. The Christmas and New Year period is the deadliest time to travel on Australian roads.
However, frustrated police said drivers were still endangering themselves and others by flouting the law.
NSW Police say they have again been disappointed by the number of drink drivers on the road.
The commander of the NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, assistant commissioner John Hartley, said police had conducted 83,806 breath tests since Friday and laid well over 100 charges.
“Whilst less people have been charged during this operation with drink-driving than last year, there are still far too many people doing it, “he said.
“Every time someone has a drink and gets behind the wheel they are putting their lives and the lives of innocent people at risk.
“As police, one of the hardest parts of the job is telling families their loved one has been killed, and many of these incidents can be avoided if people were more responsible on the roads.”
2012 is already set to go down as a year of carnage on Australian roads, with provisional figures putting the national toll to the end of November at 1200, up from 1155 at the same time last year.
Around two out of every three crashes occur on regional roads.
Road safety plea: Alethia's urge for us all to drive responsibly
In an instant, one stranger’s selfish decision to drink and drive would shatter Alethia Mylonas’s dreams – nearly kill her – and confine her to a hospital bed for almost a year.
“Everything went out the window, all of my hopes and dreams,” Ms Mylonas said. “I was saving to go overseas, and I wanted to buy a house. I had to start from scratch, I had to learn how to live again.”
The 38-year-old, from Port Macquarie, on the NSW north coast, suffers from permanent brain damage, mobility problems and speech impairment at the hands of a drink driver who smashed into the side of her car.
Even now, 18 years on from her accident, the ramifications of someone else’s actions still affect Ms Mylonas every day of her life.
Her injuries serve as a physical reminder of the nightmare she endured as a 20-year-old.
“I can’t even explain how I was feeling,” she said. “I couldn’t believe this happened to me and I couldn’t understand why.”
The story is a timely reminder of the very real dangers of drink-driving. Ms Mylonas’s urged people to act responsibly on the roads this Christmas.