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Holiday pilgrimage off to a sober start

Date

John Thistleton

NSW Police conducting random breath tests on motorists entering the township of Braidwood, as the annual exodus to the south coast from Canberra begins.

NSW Police conducting random breath tests on motorists entering the township of Braidwood, as the annual exodus to the south coast from Canberra begins. Photo: Graham Tidy

Traffic trickled along the Kings Highway from Canberra to Braidwood on Boxing Day, as the ACT regional holiday exodus began.

Leading senior constable Richard Pearce said 500 motorists were breath-tested, and none returned a positive reading.

Two highway patrol officers breath-tested drivers from 6.30am to 8.30am at Queanbeyan and mid-morning moved on to the western approach of Braidwood, targeting any heavy drinkers from Christmas Day.

Those who were caught under similar circumstances were usually surprised, according to one of the officers. "They'll say they have stuck to the two standard drinks per hour. But it depends on what they've been drinking.

Senior Constable Pearce said motorists were well behaved and only a few speeding fines were issued.

At Berridale, near Cooma, a young woman was trapped in a car, following an accident late on Wednesday afternoon. Her injuries were not life-threatening.

Meanwhile, petrol prices dropped slightly from before Christmas at Phillip in the ACT where unleaded fuel was selling for 150.9¢ a litre. At Bungendore it was 148.9¢ a litre.

Steady rain at Bungendore dampened spirits for holidaymakers, and the heavy cloud cover continued to Braidwood, where traffic was building up about 10.45am.

Yet long stretches of the highway were empty, which meant lean pickings for the west-facing highway patrol car at Doughboy Creek.

A handful of camper vans had gathered at the Shoalhaven River.

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