DOUBLE demerits will come into effect in NSW from midnight tonight ahead of the Australia Day long weekend.
Operation Safe Return will start from 12.01am on Friday and run through until midnight Monday.
Double demerits will be in force for speeding, seatbelt, mobile phone and motorcycle helmet offences.
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More than 4800 motorists were caught speeding during the Australia Day long weekend in 2018.
A further 285 drivers were detected drink-driving, while three people were killed and 91 injured in 303 major crashes across the state.
Assistant Commissioner of the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command Michael Corboy said police would be out in force patrolling both major routes across the state as well as back roads in rural areas.
“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.”
Police in all parts of NSW will be looking for speeding drivers but also be ramping up testing for alcohol and drugs through increased Random Alcohol and Drug testing.
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 and a pillion passenger 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.”