Sydney Times

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Drivers are being urged to slow down and travel safely this holiday season, as the NSW Police state-wide Christmas and New Year road safety operation kicks off.

Double demerits will be in place for speeding, seatbelt, mobile phone and motorcycle helmet offences from midnight tonight until 11:59pm on Sunday 3 January.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott reminded the community to enjoy the Christmas and New Year period but importantly to arrive at your destination safely.

“Traditionally, more people are on the roads during the Christmas season, and although this year has been like no other, I am still reminding you to abide by the road rules and take extra care to make sure you get home safely,” Mr Elliott said.

“We continue to encourage the public to report anyone they see or know of breaking the law with the Four Ds – drink, drug, dangerous and distracted driving – to Crime Stoppers.”

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said there has been an increase in the number of fatalities involving speed since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.

“During the height of the pandemic earlier this year, 52 per cent of deaths on our roads involved excessive speed. That’s up from 38 per cent during the same time last year,” Mr Constance said.

“At this time of year we want everyone to get the chance to celebrate the holidays with their families and friends, so please slow down, drive to the conditions and stay alert on our roads.”

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said with many in NSW set to travel to the regions over the break, it is important to be ready for the conditions and drive so that others survive.

“We want everyone to have a safe holiday in the regions and return home to their families, which means taking the risks seriously – don’t drive tired, under the influence or over the speed limit and make sure you plan ahead and know the conditions,” Mr Toole said.

“We’re asking everyone heading out to the regions this season to be prepared, be patient and be considerate so that everyone gets home to their loved ones safely.”

Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner Karen Webb, said community safety is always the main priority for police.

“After the year that we have had, we want the community to arrive at their destinations safely to celebrate the festivities with family and friends. Help us keep you and your loved ones safe, there is no excuse for reckless and selfish behaviour,” Assistant Commissioner Webb said.

“Police will have a presence on all roads across the state, from major motorways to rural backroads, so have a Plan B to get home safely if you’re drinking, put the phone away, keep to the speed limit and always wear seatbelts.”

There have been 293 fatalities on NSW roads so far this year.

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