Friday, December 23, 2005
New South Wales Police have begun their holiday Operation Safe Arrival holiday road safety campaign overnight. The campaign runs from 12:01AM December 23, 2005 until 11:59PM January 2, 2006.
In an attempt to keep the number of deaths on NSW roads at a minimum police will target speeding, seatbelt, helmet and drunk driving offences. According to the New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority, 495 people have died on NSW roads between January 1 and December 11. This figure will surely climb over the holiday period.
The RTA has also begun double demerit points for speeding, seatbelt and helmet offences. The double demerit points will run for the same 11 day period as Operation Safe Arrival. The minimum penalty for any double demerit offence is 6 points. Provisional drivers need to be particularly mindful of these as P1 license holders (those who have had a license 12 months or less) can only incur 3 points. P2 license holders (those who have held a license for 12 to 36 months) have 6 and unrestricted license holders have 12.
According to the RTA, 23,624 drivers in the 2003/4 holiday season were issued with fines carrying double demerits and 2,150 motorists had their licenses suspended due to speeding or exceeding their demerit point limit.
The RTA introduced double demerits in 1997 in an attempt to force drivers to be more mindful of speeding, wearing seatbelts and motorcycle helmets. Double demerit points are now introduced over each major holiday period when a large proportion of road-related deaths occur.
Other jurisdictions in Australia which have double demerit points over holiday periods are South Australia, Western Australia, and the Australian Capital Territory.