Police will be out in force this long Australia Day weekend.
Police will be out in force this long Australia Day weekend.

Double demerits, strong police presence for long weekend

IT'S Australia Day long weekend but that doesn't mean common sense should go out the window, police warn.

Richmond Police District Superintendent Toby Lindsay urged people to be sensible as they celebrate the long weekend.

"We want the community and our visitors to enjoy our wonderful area, but we want them to celebrate Australia Day safely and responsibly," Supt Lindsay said.

"Police will again be conducting a high visibility public safety operation in the Richmond Police District and along the east coast

"I encourage everyone to have a safe and responsible long weekend."

Meanwhile, NSW Police are also launching a greater high-visibility presence on NSW roads across the long weekend.

Operation Safe Return starts at 12.01am on Friday, January 24 and concludes at 11.59pm on Monday, January 27.

Double demerits will be in force throughout the period for speeding, seatbelt, mobile phone and motorcycle helmet offences.

During Operation Safe Return 2019, three people lost their lives on NSW roads; the same number of fatalities as the 2018 operation.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott urged communities to celebrate Australia Day safely.

"Although Australia Day is a time to enjoy time with friends and family, we also tragically see an increase in road trauma and collisions," Mr Elliott said.

"NSW communities have seen more than their fair share of heartache over the summer. Our appeal is for motorists not to add to that by way of unnecessary road trauma.

"Take care of yourself and family, look out for your mates, and don't take any risks that would put your life or someone else's life at risk," Mr Elliott said.

Traffic and Highway Patrol Command's Assistant Commissioner, Michael Corboy, said that it more important than ever for people to look out for their fellow road users.

"This means staying well-rested by having a good night's sleep before you start your journey, taking regular breaks, not drink or drug driving, and sticking to or below the speed limit," Mr Corboy said

"By neglecting these responsibilities, not only are you putting yourself at risk; but you are also risking the lives of your passengers and everyone else you encounter throughout your journey."

NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole reminded all road users to be patient over the busy long weekend period.

"If you're travelling over the long weekend make sure you plan ahead, get a good night's sleep, drive to the conditions, stick to the speed limit, and don't take chances driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs," Mr Toole said.

"Already 17 people have died on NSW roads this year, and while that is 12 fewer fatalities than for the same period in 2019 it is still too many.

"We need all road users to make safety their priority and help reduce the road toll to zero."

Throughout the entirety of Operation Safe Return 2019:

  • 4584 infringements were issued for speeding,
  • 8257 other infringements were issued,
  • 478 people were charged with drink-driving,
  • 190,870 breath tests were conducted
  • Three lives were lost.