Double demerits kick in from tonight
Double demerits will be in force from tonight across NSW, the ACT and WA, with police also on the look out for people breaking new COVID-19 restrictions.
While travelling for holidays is not considered "essential travel" police will still be out in force over the Easter long weekend to ensure everyone is safe on the roads.
Operation Tortoise, will see NSW Police targeting speeding, mobile phone, seatbelt and motorcycle helmet offences; all of which will attract double demerit points.
Double demerit points kick in from 12.01am on Thursday and will run until 11.59pm on Monday.
The higher penalties mean if you are caught using your phone behind the wheel this holiday period you'll cop 10 demerit points along with a $344 fine in NSW.
Not wearing a seat belt is six demerit points and a $344 fine. This jumps up to 12 demerit points when driving with two or more unrestrained passengers and can result in a fine of up to $1449.
Under current restrictions implemented to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, people in NSW must not leave their home without a "reasonable excuse".
There are 16 acceptable reasons to leave your home in NSW, including grocery shopping, exercising, working and medical or compassionate care.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott MP, 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," Mr Elliot 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 workload 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."
WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER STATES?
Not all states employ double demerits during holiday periods, with only a few others following the same system as NSW and the ACT.
Western Australia applies double demerits during holiday periods, with the long weekend operation also running from April 9 to April 13
During this period the higher penalties will apply to offences such as drink and drug-driving, not wearing a seat belt, driving through a red light, using a mobile phone while driving and speeding.
Queensland also has double demerits, but unlike other states they are not just applied during certain times of the year.
Drivers who repeatedly commit specific offences will receive double demerit points for the subsequent offence.
This only applies if the later offence was committed within 12 months of a previous offence.
This rule is aimed at targeting specific offences including speeding more than 20km/h over the limit, illegal use of mobile phone, not correctly wearing a seatbelt and motorcycle helmet offences.
Originally published as Double demerits kick in from tonight