Double demerits apply for 11 days of Christmas

OUT IN FORCE: Highway Patrol Officers conducting random breath testing. Picture: Supplied
OUT IN FORCE: Highway Patrol Officers conducting random breath testing. Picture: Supplied

Double demerits start Christmas Eve and are in force through the Christmas to New Year holiday period.

Our council Road Safety and Injury Prevention Officer, Melanie Suitor, says the scheme is designed to encourage safe and responsible driving.

"Since double demerit points were introduced in 1997 there have been significant reductions in fatal crashes over the holiday periods; including Christmas/New Year, Easter and long weekends," she said.

"The scheme is designed to encourage safe and responsible driving. Working in conjunction with financial penalties, double demerit points provide a strong incentive to drive within the law.

"Traffic on roads to popular holiday destinations, increases by up to 50 per cent during the Christmas and New Year holiday period, so it is important to obey all the road rules and drive safely."

Ms Suitor is urging drivers to be patient on the roads and take care:

  • Be aware of the early warning signs of driver fatigue;
  • Stick to the speed limit and drive to the conditions;
  • Wear your seatbelt and ensure your passengers are all restrained;
  • Reduce distractions in the car; and
  • Avoid mixing alcohol with driving.

"We want everyone to have a happy and safe Christmas with their families - please obey the road rules and drive safely," Ms Suitor said.

Parkes Highway Patrol Sergeant Martin Ling is also warning motorists to obey the road rules as there is a greater chance of losing your licence.

He says all available highway patrol officers will be working from December 24 to January 3.

"All Police cars are mobile RBT units - it is not just rhetoric it is true," he said.

"In Central West Police District we will be concentrating our efforts on back roads and regional roads.

"All it takes for people to be hurt or killed this holiday period is for a road user to make one bad choice.

"Nearly every one of us knows of someone who has been involved in a crash on our roads.

"Distractions such as looking at your phone means you're not fully focused on the task at hand.

"We all know that seat belts save lives and that drink-driving and speeding creates a real risk to yourself and everyone else around you.

"So this holiday period, if you choose to speed, to look at your phone, to drink and drive, it's not just yourself you're putting at risk, it could be someone you know and love that you're putting at risk.

"The road toll usually makes the headlines for all the wrong reasons at this time of year. Let's get it in print for the right reason this year by recording a fatality free holiday period."