Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shire Councils in conjunction with NSW Police are reminding motorists to drive safely and to remember that double demerits are in place for 11 days over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

Double demerits start on Thursday 24 December 2020 and run through to Sunday 3 January 2021 (inclusive) and apply for all speeding, seat belt, motorcycle helmet and mobile phone offences.

This will be the fourth double demerit point period in which Mobile Phone Detection Cameras are being enforced and fines issued.

Drivers caught using their phones during a double demerit period will be hit with a $457 fine and 10 demerits.

Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shire Councils' Road Safety and Injury Prevention Officer, Melanie Suitor said that 'road safety is everyone's responsibility' - we all have a part to play in driving down the road toll.

"Too often, people think it is ok for them to quickly check a text, or drive faster than the speed limit because they know the road or they get behind the wheel when they are tired or have had a few drinks.  It's not.

"The message is clear: Don't drive tired.  Don’t text while driving.  Don't drive while under the influence of drugs/alcohol and please wear your seatbelt no matter what.

"We need to stop thinking of the road toll as just a number but rather 'the impact it has on people's lives'.  One in four people in the country know someone who's either been seriously injured or killed on our roads.

"We want everyone to have a happy and safe Christmas with their families - please obey the road rules and drive safely," Ms Suitor said.

With state borders now open and COVID restrictions further eased in NSW, authorities are expecting traffic to increase over the holiday period as people drive to see their loved ones and have a break.  With that increase in traffic, comes increased risk of a crash.

NSW Police's Central West Highway Patrol Sergeant Martin Ling said that double demerit points do work as a deterrent for motorists' bad behavior.

"Statistics show that there's a 30% reduction in casualty crashes when double demerit points are in play.

"All available Highway Patrol Officers will be working.  All Police cars are a mobile random breath and drug testing unit – it is not just rhetoric, it is true.  In Central West Police District, we will be concentrating our efforts on back roads and regional roads.

“All it takes for people to be hurt or killed this holiday period is for a road user to make one bad choice.

“So this holiday period, if you choose to speed, to look at your phone, to drink and drive, it’s not just yourself you’re putting at risk, it could be someone you know and love that you’re putting at risk.

"The road toll usually makes the headlines for all the wrong reasons at this time of year.  Let's get it in print for the right reason this year by recording a fatality free holiday period," Sergeant Ling said.