News, Police Rounds

Double demerits kick in from midnight

traffic_rtaTHE annual Easter long-weekend police operation, enforcing road safety begins from midnight tonight.

Operation Tortoise begins with double demerit points for speeding, seatbelt and helmet offences enforced from Thursday March 28 and concluding at on Monday April 1.

Last Easter three people never made it home to their families after being killed on NSW’s roads while the year before the picture was even worse, with five people dying in fatal crashes.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Michael Gallacher said motorists heading away this long-weekend need to be vigilant on the road and to be wary of other drivers.

“The Easter holiday period has been a particularly tragic time of year. Over the past 10 years, 53 fatal crashes have occurred on our roads taking the lives of 60 people,” he said.

“Road trauma leaves nothing but destruction and devastation in its wake and that’s not what we want to see this long weekend.

“Police will be out in force conducting Operation Tortoise and penalising motorists doing the wrong thing but drivers also need to take responsibility and take care on the road,” Minister Gallacher said.

Commander of Traffic and Highway Patrol, Assistant Commissioner John Hartley said motorists need to do their part in reducing road trauma and aim for a fatal-free Easter.

“The NSW’s road toll currently stands at 79, that’s nine down for the same time last year but this is not something we should be proud of with every death on our roads a tragedy.

“In the week leading up to Easter eight people have been killed on NSW roads in what have predominantly been single vehicle crashes where speed and fatigue were major factors.

“This Easter long-weekend police will be out in force on NSW’s roads and I am urging motorists to make the right decisions to reach their destination safely,” Assistant Commissioner Hartley said.

Last Easter police attended 663 major crashes while nearly 6,000 motorists were caught speeding and 355 found drunk behind the wheel.

The do’s and don’ts of driving include:

• Do check your vehicle is roadworthy;
• Do wear a seatbelt;
• Don’t drink and drive;
• Do drive to the weather and road conditions;
• Don’t exceed the speed limit;
• Don’t talk on your mobile phone; and,
• Do take regular breaks and minimise distractions.

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.

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