Major changes to NSW road rules

 

Speed camera warning signs will be scrapped and motorists caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will face harsher penalties under a slew of proposed new laws for NSW.

The government is hoping changes will help crack down on speeding drivers, including by removing warning signs often located 250m and 50m ahead of mobile speed cameras which would warn motorists to slow down.

These changes were spurred by the tragic deaths of four children at Oatlands earlier this year, after an intoxicated driver mounted the footpath.

Leila and Daniel Abdallah lost three children in the crash, and one of the childrens' cousins was also killed.

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said the changes are about shifting culture and behaviour.

"We want to make a difference," he said.

Daniel Abdallah and his wife Leila lost their children Antony, 13, Angelina, 12 and Sienna, 9, in the crash. Photo: Tim Pascoe
Daniel Abdallah and his wife Leila lost their children Antony, 13, Angelina, 12 and Sienna, 9, in the crash. Photo: Tim Pascoe

"We can't keep doing what we're doing, year in, year out, knowing the impact it has on families, loved ones, children and our community."

Bridget Sakr, whose 11-year-old daughter Veronique died in the crash, told NCA NewsWire:

"We're extremely overwhelmed with the change in the law. It's taken nine months to get this legislation into place, that's never happened (as fast) before. I think that in itself speaks to how much impact this tragedy has had on people's lives, all over Australia."

Ms Sakr was present at the announcement of the proposed new road rules alongside Mr and Mrs Abdallah, who lost their children Sienna, 8, Angelina, 12, and Antony, 13.

The changes will be rolled out over a 12-month period.

Speaking to the media on Thursday Mr Constance said tougher penalties would also be thrown at those caught drink and drug driving from next year.

The state government is proposing that speed camera warnings signs should be scrapped and motorists caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol should face harsher penalties. Picture: Christian Gilles
The state government is proposing that speed camera warnings signs should be scrapped and motorists caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol should face harsher penalties. Picture: Christian Gilles

Drivers are 23 times more likely to crash if they're under the influence of alcohol and drugs, he said, citing recent research.

"This massive, life-threatening risk needs a stronger penalty," Mr Constance said.

"Across our roads network we have seen this reckless and irresponsible behaviour result in far too many deaths and serious injuries, and these tougher penalties send the message that this behaviour won't be tolerated."

Since 2015 more than 100 serious crashes have involved a diver or rider with illegal levels of both alcohol and drugs in their system.

As a result, 98 people lost their lives and another 52 were seriously injured.

Independent modelling from Monash University Accident Research Centre showed these enhancements to the mobile speed camera program may save between 34 and 43 lives, and prevent around 600 serious injuries in NSW each year.

The announcement comes on the back of a record investment in road safety of $648 million, which includes a significant increase in investment through the Safer Roads Program targeting high risk areas with a regional focus.

Originally published as Major changes to NSW road rules

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said changes are about shifting culture and behaviour. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper
NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said changes are about shifting culture and behaviour. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper