Double demerits will start tonight and be in place until midnight on Monday.
Double demerits will start tonight and be in place until midnight on Monday.

Minister's chilling warning: 'People will die this weekend'

An urgent warning has been issued to drivers ahead of the long weekend as the road toll surges above average, with a NSW minister saying he fears people will "die this weekend".

Speaking at a press conference announcing Operation Stay Alert, NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said he held grave fears when he looked at the statistics, noting road deaths were much more likely to takes the lives of men.

"I can't help but think there are people walking around our community today, at work, school, you name it, who are going to die this weekend," Mr Constance said.

"That's the unfortunate nature of road accidents. They happen when people don't expect it, and that's the sad reality.

"The fact that one in five fatalities on our roads is people not wearing a safety belt, seriously. "I mean there's a whole raft of messages going out here about the dangers and pitfalls of driving motor vehicles across the road network.

"Too many lives lost, people not concentrating, particularly men, and people need to wake up to this. Please don't become a statistic this weekend."

So far this year, 165 people have been killed on NSW roads, including 130 men. The number of deaths is up 12 for the same period last year.

"Our concentration this year, as it is all years, is on fatigue, speed, seatbelts, helmets and drink and drug-driving, and the NSW Police will be out there in force across this weekend," said Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy, the Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander.

"It could be very tempting to travel a long way tomorrow to spend time with family.

"I am renewing our appeal to passengers, regardless of where you are sitting in the vehicle, to call the driver out on their behaviour."

Earlier this year, a 21 year-old female driver was killed in a head-on collision in Berkshire Park after a Snapchat video, filmed by one of her passengers, showed her revving her engine and apparently swerving into oncoming traffic.

If you are caught using your mobile phone while driving this long weekend, you'll lose 10 demerit points. If you are caught speeding, you can lose up to 12 points.

Not wearing a seatbelt carries a penalty of up to five points. One in five fatalities in NSW is caused by not wearing a seatbelt.

NSW Police say speeding, fatigue and drink and drug-driving are the biggest killers on the state's roads.

 

Figures show hundreds of fewer deaths and serious crashes after double demerits were introduced.
Figures show hundreds of fewer deaths and serious crashes after double demerits were introduced.

 

WHEN DO DOUBLE DEMERITS START AND FINISH?

Operation Stay Alert will run over the June long weekend. Double demerits started at 12.01am today and will run until 11.59pm on Monday.

During Operation Stay Alert last year, three people lost their lives in separate crashes on NSW roads.

For the first time on a long weekend, low-range drink-drivers will receive an on-the-spot three-month licence suspension and a $561 fine.

More than 100 people have so far lost their licences as a result of the new laws that came into effect in NSW on May 20.

Not all states and territories are equal when it comes to double demerit points. Only NSW and ACT have double demerit points in place during holiday periods. Victoria has never had double demerits.

ACT

The double demerit period also applies to drivers in the ACT, with double demerits in place from Friday, June 7 to Monday, June 10.

QUEENSLAND

Unlike other states and territories in Queensland, double demerit points don't apply during holiday periods. Instead they are applied to repeat offenders that increase the road safety risk to themselves and other road users.

Double demerits apply all year round for these repeat offenders as a way of discouraging dangerous driving.

Also, Queenslanders do not celebrate the Queen's Birthday until later this year on October 7.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

No double demerits in Western Australia, with the state celebrating the Queen's Birthday a week earlier than Queensland on September 30.

VICTORIA

Victoria is celebrating the Queen's Birthday on Monday, but double demerit periods aren't used in Victoria.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA, TASMANIA, NORTHERN TERRITORY

Like Victoria, South Australia Tasmania and Northern Territory doesn't have double demerit periods.

 

 

- with AAP


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