School holidays police road campaign

WITH more than 100 lives lost on NSW roads already this year, police are calling on all road users to slow down and travel safely ahead of the upcoming school holidays, as Operation Merret continues.

The special operation is an unorthodox and proactive approach to road policing, aimed at educating and empowering the public to make the right decisions on the roads.

So far this year, 106 lives have already been lost on the State’s roads.

With the aim of saving more tragic loss of life over the school holiday period, Operation Merret is aimed at ensuring motorists, passengers and pedestrians consider how their decisions impact other road users.

In four weeks since the start of Operation Merret, more than 30,000 infringements have been issued for a variety of offences including speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone while driving.

Police Minister Troy Grant said motor vehicle crashes don’t just impact the drivers or motorcyclists involved – they tear families apart and cause unimaginable grief for communities.

“These school holidays, I urge drivers to slow down, wear a seatbelt and put your mobile down. Don’t risk innocent lives by making poor decisions,” Mr Grant said.

NSW Police Force Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn urged all road users to take personal responsibility and stay alert on NSW roads over the busy school holiday period.

“We began Operation Merret, an unorthodox approach to road safety in March this year, to help stem the number of lives lost on our roads,” Dep Comm Burn said.

“While we have seen a lot of positive feedback from the community, it is sad to see that the 30,000-plus infringements represent 30,000 people who made a decision to put themselves and others at risk over the past four weeks.

“With an increase in road users over the school holidays, we are urging all road users to be vigilant and take personal responsibility for their actions on the road.

“While everyone is excited about the holidays, it is not worth the risk of speeding or driving while tired in order to get to your destination.

“We’re asking you to manage your trip, slow down, take regular breaks, avoid distractions, and ensure everyone in the vehicle is wearing a seatbelt.

“It is much more important to arrive safely, than not to arrive at all.”

The school holidays begin tomorrow at the end of the school day and end on Monday April 30.

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

Since the start of Operation Merret:

- More than 30,000 infringements have been given for a variety of offences.

- More than 19,000 of the infringements were for speeding and more than 1700 for not wearing a seatbelt.

- More than 500,000 Random Breath tests have been conducted, and

- More than 1900 drivers have been charged with drink driving.