Police set to use harsher penalties over long weekend to deter poor driving behavior

STAY SAFE: Acting inspector Brett Gruber and acting Hunter Valley Police District commander superintendent Joanne Schultz are hoping for a safe long weekend.
STAY SAFE: Acting inspector Brett Gruber and acting Hunter Valley Police District commander superintendent Joanne Schultz are hoping for a safe long weekend.

AS per every long weekend, the police will be out in force in order to deter dangerous driving and help protect road users.

Phone use will attract the most attention in NSW where the penalties are more severe than other states.

Motorists heading away for the Easter and Anzac Day breaks are being reminded to be aware of the warning signs of fatigue before they get behind the wheel.

Police across NSW will be targeting all speeding, mobile phone, seatbelt and motorcycle/helmet offences, which will attract double demerit points.

The operation over Christmas was a success in the Upper Hunter with nobody losing their lives.

However acting Hunter Valley Police District Commander Superintendent Joanne Schultz emphasised the importance of safety for motorcyclists following several fatal incidents already this year.

"We're always hopeful to have zero fatalities and nobody seriously injured, that's our great fear to have to go to jobs like those," she said.

"We've had a few incidents since that time, particularly with motorcyclists who have been killed on some of our roads.

"So we're putting out the word to all drivers but particularly motorcycle riders to drive safely and drive to the conditions."

Operation Tortoise, the state's Easter long weekend road safety operation, will start at 12.01am on Thursday 18 April 2019 and will run until 11.59am on Monday 22 April 2019.

Traffic and highway patrol commander assistant commissioner Michael Corboy said with the Easter and Anzac Day holidays so close together more cars were expected on the road.

"Driving when you are tired compromises your judgement and leaves you more at risk of being involved in a crash which could be deadly, that's why it is so important to take a rest break from driving every couple of hours," assistant commissioner Corboy said.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, said police will be out in force ensuring motorists obey speed limits.

"Often families hit the road for a holiday with the kids, so we want every motorist to take great care behind the wheel this Easter and Anzac Day and ensure they arrive safety at their destination."

Supt Schultz wanted to make sure people were clear about why police enforce extra penalties.

"These operations are critical just to spread the word about road safety, to remind motorists to take it easy," she said.

"And for police it's just about getting out and enforcing the road rules."

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Paul Toole, said it was important everyone took responsibility on the road.

"We want everyone to make it to their destination safely over the break and help us drive the road toll Toward Zero," Mr Toole said.

"If you're travelling over the next week make sure you plan ahead, get a good night's sleep, drive to the conditions, stick to the speed limit and never ever risk driving if there's a chance you could be affected by drugs or alcohol."

Double demerits will return on 12.01am Wednesday 24 April 2019 until 11.59pm on Sunday 28 April 2019 as part of Operation Go Slow across the Anzac Day public holidays.

Drivers can learn more about fatigue warning signs and risks at https://www.testyourtiredself.com.au/