“You’ll see us coming” is the message from police as the force gears up for the annual January long weekend traffic operation.
Country roads will be targeted during Operation Safe Return, which starts 12.01am on Friday, January 25 and ends at 11.59pm on Monday, January 28.
Traffic and Highway Patrol Command’s Assistant Commissioner, Michael Corboy, said police will be concentrating on the major routes that holiday-makers will be travelling on as well as the ‘back roads’.
He made no apologies for keeping police on back roads throughout rural areas during the Australia Day long weekend.
“We know many people will be heading for a little time away across the weekend, so we will be right there with you wherever you will be driving throughout NSW including on those back roads,” he said.
“Just as we told you at Christmas, we will continue targeting those feeder roads that lead to our major arterial roads such as the Pacific, Newell, Hume and Princes highways.”
Double demerits will be in force throughout the period for speeding, seatbelt, mobile phone and motorcycle helmet offences.
During the 2018 Operation Safe Return period, two drivers and one pedestrian lost their lives in crashes on NSW roads. Two of the crashes occurred on rural roads between 4pm and 9pm.
Police throughout the state will be on the look out for speeding drivers and ramping up random alcohol and drug testing across the long weekend.
Assistant Commissioner Corboy called on passengers to speak up and tell their driver to take a break if they noticed the person behind the wheel was looking tired.
“This summer has been hotter than normal, so people may not have been sleeping as well so I would encourage people to get a good night’s sleep before setting out on a long trip,” he said.
“Take a break every couple of hours and have enough water in the car for everyone.
“Eight passengers, 21 drivers, three motorcyclists... have lost their lives so far this year on NSW roads.
“I also want people to speak up if their driver is about to drive off after consuming alcohol or drugs or is talking on the phone. It’s your life too.”
Acting Executive Director of the Centre for Road Safety, Craig Moran, said Australia Day is traditionally a time when people enjoy socialising with friends and family.
“If you’re planning on drinking over Australia Day then have a Plan B leave your car at home and plan ahead to get home safely,” Mr Moran said.
“It’s also a busy weekend on the roads as people return home for the start of the new school year. If you are travelling this weekend make sure you stick to the speed limit, drive to the conditions and never ever drive tired or if you’re affected by drugs or alcohol.”
“We want everyone to enjoy the long weekend and get home safely.”
Throughout the entirety of Operation Safe Return 2018:
- 4898 infringements were issued for speeding
- 7714 other infringements were issued
- 285 people were charged with drink-driving
- 303 major crashes were reported, resulting in 91 people injured and;
- Three people died (one less than during the same operation last year)