Stay alert this long weekend

Operation Stay Alert starts at midnight for the long weekend. Photo: FDCPOLICE haveurgedmotorists to stay alert and take extreme care this Queen’s Birthday long weekend to avoid “road trauma that could change lives forever”.
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Extra police will be on duty during the annual Operation Stay Alert road safety campaign, which begins at midnight tonight and runs until 11.59pm, June 13.

Since the start of the year, 177 people have lost their lives in 167 crashes across the state, compared to 145 fatalities from 135 crashes in the same period last year.

Police haveurgedmotorists not to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and to maintain alertness while on the road.

Assistant Commissioner John Hartley said the long weekend was a time for families and friends to get together and enjoy their break, and urged motorists to be aware of the five factors that can lead to fatalities.

“Fatigue, impairment as a result of alcohol or drug use, seatbelts, speed and distraction are all risks that can lead to tragedy while on the road,” he said.

“I urge everyone to take care, drive responsibly and respect other motorists and obey the road rules.

“Drinking alcohol or using drugs and then getting behind the wheel is a recipe for disaster. Plan ahead and find an alternative method of transportation if you plan to drink. It is just not worth it,

“As a motorist, your focus should always be on the road; not on the mobile phone, GPS, music or any other distraction. It only takes a split-second for a life to change forever.”

Executive director for the Centre for Road SafetyBernard Carlonsaid fatigue hadalready killed more than twice as many people on NSW roads this year than the same time last year.

“Drivers need to plan ahead and get a good night’s sleep before driving – whether it is a short or a long trip, day or night,” Mr Carlon said.

“When you’re driving, check for those familiar signs of tiredness such as yawning, sore eyes and restlessness.

“If you notice these things, pull over somewhere safe and switch drivers or take a20-minute nap.

“Four people lost their lives in the June long weekend last year. If you think that that’s an acceptable number, I ask you to think what an acceptable number would be for your family and friends.

“All deaths on our roads are preventable – people need to take a personal responsibility for road safety.”

Officers will be conducting high-visibility patrols, mobile and stationary random breath tests and random drug tests.

Double demerit points will be in force and apply for all speeding, seat belt and motorcycle helmet offences during this period.

Extra traffic is expected on major routes across NSW over the next few days as families head to popular holiday destinations.

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