The NSW Government today launched “Operation Safe Return” and called on motorists to exercise extra caution on the roads this Australia Day long weekend, with large numbers of families expected to be travelling to and from holiday destinations.
“Summer is a time to be spent with friends and family, not in the back of an ambulance, an intensive care ward, a police cell or a morgue,” Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Michael Gallacher said.
“The launch of “Operation Safe Return” presents an important opportunity to remind road users of the critical need to exercise caution on the road over the Australia Day Long Weekend.” Minister Gallacher said.
This year, the operation will commence at 12.01am Friday 25 January 2013 and conclude at 11.59pm on Monday 28 January 2013. Double demerit points will be in place for the entirety of the operation.
During last year’s (2012) “Operation Safe Return”, police:
- Conducted 136,287 breath tests, charging 303 motorists with drink driving;
- Booked 3,330 motorists for speeding;
- Issued 5,639 infringements for other traffic offences.
Two people were killed on the state’s roads during the 2012 operation.
Roads Minister Duncan Gay said when driving on any long journey, it is important to take plenty of breaks, avoid driving when you would normally be sleeping and look out for the early warning signs of driver fatigue.
“Each year about 40 per cent of crashes involve excessive or inappropriate speed. It is the single biggest killer on NSW roads,” Minister Gay said
Acting Police Commissioner, Nick Kaldas, said roads across the state will be busy over the weekend, and warned drivers that police will be out in force.
“There will be hundreds of additional NSW police out on the roads during “Operation Safe Return”. You are twice as likely to be breath tested, have your speed checked or spoken to by police.
“Officers will be ready to catch and book rogue drivers, before they destroy their own lives or, worse yet, the lives of other innocent road users,” Acting Police Commissioner Nick Kaldas concluded.
The latest information regarding incidents and heavy holiday traffic is available 24 hours a day by visiting www.livetraffic.com, or by calling the Traffic Information Line on 132 701.