This Easter weekend marks an anniversary of one of the most successful police campaigns we have seen in our state.
It is 20 years since the double-demerits campaign became a regular feature of holiday periods.
While there are still lives lost on our roads, which is a tragedy, the double-demerits campaign has proved effective at reducing the number of fatalities.
Since 1997, there have been 747 deaths on NSW roads over the 108 holiday periods.
While police say this is still 747 too many, it is 433 fewer lives lost than for the same holiday periods before double demerits were introduced, which highlight how effective they are.
There will be an increased police presence on the New England Highway and other local roads across the region again this long weekend.
As part of the police Easter Road safety campaign – Operation Tortoise – motorists face the loss of double-demerit points if caught doing the wrong thing on our roads.
Our police will be targeting fatigue, speed, illegal mobile phone use and drivers and passengers not wearing seatbelts.
Operation Tortoise began just after midnight on Thursday morning and concludes at 11.59pm on Monday. Double-demerits will be in force throughout the operation.
First used in 1969, double-demerits are now used across Australia as a deterrent.
It saves lives because it has proven to be an effective system of encouraging motorists to do the right thing on the road.
While there have been many advertising campaigns over the years, the prospect of drivers losing half the points on their licence has been one of the most effective at making our roads safer for everyone.
Yesterday morning, Bernard Carlon, Centre for Road Safety Executive Director, said the last thing they wanted is for drivers to lose their licence this Easter, but they would rather see someone lose their licence than lose their life.
“So drive safely this Easter,” he said. “If you’re drinking leave the car at home and make sure you have a plan B. If you’re feeling tired pull over and take a break. And most importantly don’t rush, your family and friends would rather you are a bit late than lose you forever.”
We commend our police and the double-demerits campaign for the work they have done over 20 years to make our roads safer. Let’s keep it that way.