The Traffic and Highway Patrol Command is reminding the community that, while travelling for holidays is not considered ‘essential’ travel, officers will continue to be out in force over the Easter long weekend.
The NSW Premier and the NSW Health Minister have outlined orders under the Public Health Act that state a person must not leave their home without a reasonable excuse.
These rules do not prohibit people from going to the supermarket and pharmacy, going to and from work if you cannot work from home, going to medical appointments, or leaving for some brief exercise in your own neighbourhood.
Operation Tortoise, a state-wide road safety operation over the Easter long weekend, will see officers targeting speeding, mobile phone, seatbelt and motorcycle helmet offences; all of which will attract double demerit points.
Double demerit points will commence from 12.01am tomorrow on Thursday, April 9 until 11.59pm on Monday, April 13.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott reminded the community that it is not the time to be out on the roads unless it is absolutely necessary.
“Those who are driving on the roads during this long weekend will need to have a good reason to do so, but like always they need to abide by the road rules,” he said.
“Double demerits will be in place and police will be on the roads making sure that the rules are being adhered to.”
Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy, reminded members of the public who were undertaking essential travel that the same road rules applied.
“If you do need to leave your home and get behind the wheel of your vehicle, we implore you to slow down, don’t consume alcohol and drive, wear a seatbelt, and put away your phone,” Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.
“These are messages we have always provided and will continue to do so because, quite simply, these are the factors costing lives on our roads.
“So far this year, there have been 88 fatalities on our roads, and we do not want to see that figure increase. Obey the road rules and stay home unless you need to leave – it’s all we ask.”
Bernard Carlon, Executive Director of the Centre for Road Safety, also urged road users not be complacent despite the lower numbers of people on the roads.
“Despite the smaller number of vehicles travelling we are still seeing deaths on NSW roads most days and the road toll continues to rise. It only takes one person to make an error that leads to a crash so we need everyone who is on the roads to stick to the speed limit, put the phone down, obey all of the rules and take care,” Mr Carlon said.
“Our emergency services and hospital staff are already busy enough – don’t add to their work load this long weekend by ending in up a crash because of a poor decision made on the road.
“If they must travel, we want everyone whether they’re in the city or regional NSW to arrive safely at their destination – even if it’s just ‘just down the road’ to your local grocery shop.”