Police from Sydney to join local effort to reduce road toll

On the lookout: Police will be out in force over the Australia Day long weekend to ensure all drivers are sticking to the rules. Photo: FILE
On the lookout: Police will be out in force over the Australia Day long weekend to ensure all drivers are sticking to the rules. Photo: FILE

Male drivers travelling on country roads are most at risk of having a fatal accident and are the focus of the state’s Australia Day road safety campaign.

Starting at midnight on Thursday, Operation Safe Return will see a strong police presence across the western region. 

Double demerit points will be in force until 11.59pm on Sunday for speeding, seatbelt, mobile phone and motorcycle helmet offences.

The NSW government and police are focused on ‘six hours that could change your life’ because the majority of accidents happen between midday and 6pm, according to police data.

Authorities remain frustrated at the 2017 road toll of 392 lives, the worst result since 2010.

They are just as concerned about the start to 2018, with 29 people already killed on the states’ roads.

On Western roads there have been six deaths so far, two more than 2017, and Western Region Traffic Tactician Peter McMenamin said the goal this weekend was to be fatality-free.

“It hasn’t been a great start to the year because of the recent tragedies so we will have the maximum numbers available to us to have that high visibility presence,” Inspector McMenamin said.

“We will have extra cars from the metropolitan areas to assist us.

“We will be targeting speed, seat belt usage, mobile phone usage and impaired driving but we will also be looking at distracted driving.”

Twelve of the 27 crashes across the state this year have been single vehicle accidents where the vehicle has left the road, according to police data. 

“We need to eliminate all distractions such as mobile phones because we want people focused solely on driving,” Inspector McMenamin said.

“We are also seeing the number of people not wearing a seat belt rise again, it dipped for a while but it is back up and these are people getting involved in crashes and putting their life at greater risk.”

Roads Minister Melinda Pavey and NSW Police Force Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn urged all motorists to take more care and asked everyone to take responsibility for a safe journey.

“Just think of the thousands of people across NSW who have had to face heartache from these deaths and the many thousands more who are learning to live with lifelong injuries from crashes,” Ms Pavey said.

“Please take more care. We don’t want to see any tragedies that will ruin the end of your holidays.”

This story Police from Sydney to join local effort to reduce road toll first appeared on Daily Liberal.