State-of-the-art technology, dedicated officers and safer vehicles and roads are not enough to save lives without the wise judgement and personal responsibility of every road user, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said at the launch of Operation Tortoise – the long Easter Weekend traffic operation.
Operation Tortoise commences 12.01am on Thursday, March 24, and concludes at 11:59pm on Monday, March 28.
“We’re fortunate to have the latest technology to assist us in serving the community on the roads. We’re also fortunate that we have dedicated officers with years of experience out there keeping road users safe. What we’re lacking at this stage is the personal responsibility of those road users,” Commissioner Scipione said.
“Almost three months into the year and we’ve had 86 people die on our roads. That is 28 every month. If 86 people died in one incident, it would be considered a national disaster.”
Police will be out in force across the state, including officers from Traffic and Highway Patrol and general duties to ensure people on the road are doing the right thing, Commissioner Scipione said.
So far this year, 86 people have died on NSW roads, compared with 74 at the same time last year.
“I want to simplify the message. Please just slow down. If there is one thing you can do to avert tragedy, it is to slow down. We need to stop and think, take stock of what we’re doing on the roads, to ourselves and each other,” Commissioner Scipione said.
Police right across the state will be conducting breath tests, drug testing, and licence checks, assessing fatigue or distraction and enforcing proper restraint use.
“Let me warn every motorist who is going to venture out this long weekend, it’s not just the Traffic and Highway Command that will have officers monitoring the driving behaviour of motorists. All police from Local Area Commands will be maintaining vigilance. Any police officer, in any police vehicle, at any time, at any location, can stop you, and maybe just save you,” Commissioner Scipione said.
“I have shared these messages with my officers, and I ask you to do the same, to share them with your loved ones.”
Double demerits apply during Operation Tortoise and will target speeding, illegal use of mobile phones, not wearing a seatbelt and riding without a helmet.
“We want those using the roads to keep using them, safely. We don’t want to take your license away, or even worse, remove you or a loved one from a crash site,” Commissioner Scipione said.
“Have a safe and happy Easter,” he said.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Troy Grant said every resource is being put to use this Easter long weekend.
“NSW Police and other emergency services are making every effort to reduce the road toll – drivers just need to meet them in the middle,” Mr Grant said.
“Slow down, don’t drink or take drugs, drive to the conditions and take regular breaks.
“Drivers should not be relying on a miracle to stay safe this Easter.
“We want to encourage people to celebrate the Easter festivities, but do so safely, so that you get back home to your loved ones.”