A DRUNK driver has copped a hefty penalty after police found four people hiding in the tray of his ute while driving through Wagga at the weekend.
Officers from the Riverina Police District stopped a 20-year-old man for random breath testing on Marama Parade, Mount Austin, about midnight on Sunday when they noticed the individuals laying unrestrained in the rear tray of the utility.
The driver returned a positive breath test, and was dished out 15 demerit points for low range PCA, drive with unrestrained passengers, defective seatbelts and other vehicle offences.
The 20-year-old was just one of many caught in breach of the law over the duration of the long weekend Easter police operation, which began at 12.01am on Thursday last week and ended at 11.59pm on Monday night.
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Double-demerit points were in force throughout the period for speeding, seatbelt, mobile phone and motorcycle helmet offences, with officers also targeting high-risk driver behaviour surrounding the Four Ds of drink, drug, dangerous and distracted driving.
Riverina Highway Patrol Acting Inspector Brett Collins said while it was positive to note no fatalities in the region over the weekend, police were still disappointed with those who chose to do the wrong thing.
"Across the Easter break we saw disqualified drivers choosing to use our roads, drivers engaging in street racing and people choosing to drive under the influence of prohibited drugs," he said.
"All of these behaviours put the community at risk and won't be tolerated by police.
"We were extremely fortunate that no one was killed as a result of poor choices."
In a separate incident for the district, a 33-year-old woman was stopped for random breath testing on Sheridan Street, Gundagai, about 8.30am on Friday.
Police allege she returned a positive roadside drug test, and charges are expected to be laid pending further testing.
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