Police warn drivers of double demerits ahead of long weekend
Police have issued a warning to drivers in NSW and the ACT ahead of the October long weekend as double demerits kick in.
The penalty period applies from midnight on Friday until 11.59pm on Monday.
Police will be out in force on roads targeting speeding, drink and drug-driving, driving while fatigued, mobile phone use, helmet and other traffic offences.
The road toll so far this year is 219 – 24 more than was recorded in the whole of last year.
More than 70 per cent of those deaths have occurred in regional areas.
“We don’t want to see those statistics go up in the coming days, so it’s important that people are careful,” NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said.
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 to 12 demerit points when driving with two or more unrestrained passengers and can result in a fine of up to $1449.
The volume of traffic on NSW roads is likely to jump from Thursday onwards as the October long weekend and school holidays coincide.
With increased traffic comes increased risk of accidents, so the NRMA is suggesting drivers take care while driving.
“One of the main things we are warning drivers about is the recent wet weather,” he said.
“A lot of the regional road network has been heavily impacted by potholes.”
The NRMA is encouraging drivers to reduce their speed in wet conditions, keep a safe distance from the car in front and being prepared that if there is water on the roads you may not see potholes.
In brighter news, people travelling away from Sydney for the long weekend can expect to find cheaper petrol in regional towns.
As the national fuel excise ended overnight, petrol prices are expect to start climbing in metropolitan centres from this weekend.
“Across a number of regional centres, you are likely to find prices that are significantly cheaper than Sydney,” Mr Khoury said.
What about the other states?
Two other states and territories will also be celebrating an extended weekend this week.
South Australia will join NSW and the ACT in commemorating Labour Day to celebrate the achievements of the union movement.
Queensland residents will also get a day off on Monday for the first King’s Birthday long weekend on Australian shores.
Neither South Australia or Queensland apply double demerits during holiday periods.
Queensland also has double demerits, but unlike in other states, they are applied year round.
Drivers who 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 phones, not correctly wearing a seatbelt and motorcycle helmet offences.
It is the second week in a row drivers face harsher penalties on the road, as the one-off National Day of Mourning for Queen Elizabeth also carried double demerit points from 12.00am Wednesday, September 21 to 11.59pm on Sunday, September 25.