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Margaret River police put drivers on notice with boom in speeding and drink-driving offences

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Margaret River police station officer-in-charge Sergeant Simone Taplin. Warren Hately
Camera IconMargaret River police station officer-in-charge Sergeant Simone Taplin. Warren Hately Credit: Warren Hately/Augusta-Margaret R/Augusta-Margaret River Times

Margaret River police have voiced serious concerns about the behaviour of local drivers.

Top cop Sergeant Simone Taplin told the Times local officers have handed out twice the amount of speeding fines and charged three times as many motorists with drink-driving offences this year compared to 2022.

The trend had local police concerned and residents on notice.

“Margaret River police are concerned about the acceptance of drink-driving in the community and speeding,” Sgt Taplin said.

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“Margaret River police are dedicated to curbing road behaviour in an effort to reduce road trauma.

“Our priority is community safety, and we consistently see people – people of our community – putting their community at risk.”

The warning follows an increase in concerns among residents as well.

Tunbridge Street residents have petitioned the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River to survey and reduce speed limits on their street due to speeding drivers and motorists using Tunbridge as a “rat run” since the main street was redeveloped.

At the same time, Willmott Avenue residents were alarmed at an increase in hoon drivers on the hilly route east out of town.

Margaret River man Tim Hartnett said a big population influx could be one of the main drivers of motorists’ risky behaviour.

As the Times reported earlier this year, Mr Hartnett urged all motorists to honour the relaxed country town feel of Margaret River lest local roadways become as hectic as metropolitan areas.

“With the expansion of the town and the increase in population, this area has become a wild-west no man’s land of unmitigated and unregulated traffic, reflecting a complete absence of civility and accountability,” he said.

“(It’s) the polar opposite of the sort of community ethos and amenity that the town pretends to.”

However, police concerns also extended to bicycle riders, with Sgt Taplin noting officers were taking a no-nonsense approach with people flouting helmet rules.

“(Concerns) also extend to the acceptance of no helmets on push bikes with a number of infringements being issued,” Sgt Taplin said.

“We have seen a large increase in a lack of seatbelts, with infringements issued.”

Shire president Julia Meldrum declined to respond to Times inquiries.

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