Drivers warned to stay safe over long weekend

Motorists are being urged to look out for each other this Australia Day as double demerit points kick in over long weekend, after a series of fatal crashes this year.

Officers from Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, with assistance from police area commands and police districts, will be conducting Operation Australia Day 2021 between midnight on Friday, January 22, and 11.59pm on Tuesday, January 26.

Motorists face double demerit points during that period for speeding, mobile phone use, motorcycle helmet wearing and seatbelt offences.

"We've experienced a number of tragic fatalities already this year, this is a concern for police and the community, particularly for those who have lost a loved one", Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander Acting Assistant Commissioner Stephen Hegarty said.


Operation Australia Day 2021 will see police targeting unsafe and dangerous driving. Picture: Matthew Sullivan



"Australia Day is about mateship, camaraderie, and looking out for each other.

"We want to see that on our roads.

"It's been a tough 12 months for everyone and sometimes drivers can forget that in each and every vehicle is a loved one: a mate, a mother, a father, child or a sibling.

"Police will be doing everything in their power to work with the community in ensuring that motorists and their families arrive at their destination safely and enjoy this upcoming Australia Day holiday."

Operation Australia Day 2021 will see officers patrolling roads across the state, with police targeting unsafe and dangerous driving.

"We're asking all drivers to drive to the conditions, concentrate on the road and be aware of your fatigue levels," Assistant Commissioner Hegarty said.

"Don't be tempted by distractions such as your mobile phone, as this can all lead to tragic consequences and endanger lives."

Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said this Australia Day may not be like past celebrations, but as a community we can still come together in the spirit of mateship to look after one another on the roads.

"Over the Australia Day weekend I urge people to celebrate safely - abide by the public health orders and the road rules. If you plan on having a drink - do so responsibly," Mr Elliott said.

"We want people to celebrate safely and most importantly to make it home from their events without incident. We do not want any more fatalities on our roads."

Meanwhile, Transport and Roads Minister Andrew Constance said it is important for all road users to plan their trips and take care over the double demerit period.

"If you're planning on hitting the road in the coming days, please make sure you take it easy, allow plenty of travel time, are well rested and keep an eye out for all road users including pedestrians," Mr Constance said.

"We want everyone to arrive at their destination safely."

NSW Regional Transport and Roads Minister Paul Toole said it was important to expect more people on regional roads with border closures and as we approach the end of school holidays.

"Tragically, two-thirds of the lives lost on NSW roads occur in the country, so I'm reminding everyone that if you take risks with other people's lives and your own by doing the wrong thing, you will be caught and you will run the risk of losing your licence," Mr Toole said.

"Road safety is everyone's responsibility, so put down the phone, stick to the speed limit and never drive if you're affected by drugs or alcohol."