NSW Police are urging motorists to remain vigilant on the roads this weekend and remember two numbers other than the grand final results.
So far this year, 259 people have lost their lives on NSW roads, which means there have been 26 more deaths than the same time last year.
On the cusp of Operation Slow Down, the state’s Labour Day long weekend road safety campaign, police are reminding drivers travelling to the NRL or AFL Grand Finals, to plan their trip ahead of time and take extra precautions.
With major sporting events taking place, the school holidays coming to an end and more people out and about as the weather warms up, the potential for a ‘perfect storm’ is forming on NSW roads.
Operation Slow Down starts at 12.01am on Friday, October 2 and will continue until 11.59pm on Monday, October 5.
Double demerits will be in place over the entire long weekend for all speeding, seatbelt and motorcycle-helmet offences.
In particular, police will be targeting the major contributors to road trauma including speed; driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; not wearing a seatbelt; driver distraction and fatigue.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner, Specialist Operations, Catherine Burn, said #ShareToSurvive is the key to keeping motorists safe this long weekend.
“While police will be out in force patrolling major roads across the state, the simple fact is we can’t be behind the wheel or in the passenger seat of every vehicle,” Deputy Commissioner Burn said.
“So far this year, 259 people have been killed on our roads, that’s 26 more deaths than this time last year, and 26 more families grieving the loss of a loved one.
“That’s why this message is absolutely crucial. In fact, it has never been clearer as these tragic figures do not lie.”
Both the NRL and AFL Grand Finals are due to take place this weekend and police are prepared for more drivers to make the long-haul journeys to Sydney and Melbourne.
“If you are making the pilgrimage to see your team in action – I urge you to take extreme care on the roads and remember that your safety is ultimately in your hands,” Deputy Commissioner Burn said.
“Make sure you slow down, leave an appropriate gap between your car and the next one and exercise patience as delays on the road with holiday traffic are inevitable.”
With many motorists expected to take lengthy journeys on the roads as they travel to the Grand Finals, regular rest breaks are also essential.
“Whether it is a Driver Reviver stop or your favourite cafe, be sure to take a break every couple of hours,” Deputy Commissioner Burn said.
“Driving while fatigued significantly increases your chances of being involved in a serious crash, so don’t put yourself, or other road users at risk.”
Acting Minister for Justice and Police, David Elliott, said accidents can happen in a second.
“It’s not worth risking your life or the lives of others by being reckless on the road,” Mr Elliott said.
“There are few greater tragedies than losing a loved one in a road accident, so I am urging everyone to take responsibility for your actions, and look out for one another.
“The message is simple: obey the road rules, plan ahead, and if you see dangerous behaviour, report it to police.”
Acting Executive Director Centre for Road Safety, Bernard Carlon, urged everyone on the road to keep safe and look out for those who are particularly vulnerable.
“We’ll have families heading back from school holiday breaks, many pedestrians outside clubs and pubs for the footy grand finals and lots of traffic as people get away for the long weekend including those travelling on motorcycles, so we need everyone to show courtesy, be patient and prioritise safety,” Mr Carlon said.
“If you’re having a few drinks while watching the footy, have a Plan B organised before you head out. If you’re going on or returning from holidays, don’t drive tired, get online test your tired self before starting your journey, stick below the speed limit and drive to the conditions.
“Last year we had the equal lowest fatality total for an October long weekend since records began in 1950. Despite this good result, two people still lost their lives in crashes, which is two people, too many.
“Don’t let you, your family or your mates become part of the 2015 road toll.”