As we get ready to celebrate Australia Day and school holidays are coming to an end for thousands of local students, drivers are being reminded that double demerit points will be in force for five days.

Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shire Councils' Road Safety and Injury Prevention Officer, Melanie Suitor, said that double demerit points would be in force from Friday 22 January to Tuesday 26 January (inclusive) for all speeding, seatbelt, motorcycle helmet and mobile phone offences.

"Since their introduction in 1997, double demerit points have proven to be a successful deterrent to unsafe driving behaviours and reducing the road toll on holiday periods when the roads are at their busiest. There's been a 30% reduction in casualty crashes that are directly attributable to double demerits.

"Please drive safely and take extra care on the roads this holiday period. Driving over the speed limit to save a couple of minutes, pushing on driving when you are tired, answering your mobile phone whilst behind the wheel and driving after a few drinks isn't worth the risk of not arriving at all," Ms Suitor said.

Key double demerit points that will be in force are:

  • Exceed the speed limit by 10km/h and under
  • Exceed the speed limit by over 10km/h
  • Exceed the speed limit by over 20km/h
  • Exceed the speed limit by over 30km/h
  • Exceed the speed limit by over 45km/h
  • Driver not wearing his/her own seatbelt
  • Driver penalty for each passenger not wearing a seatbelt
  • Rider on a motorcycle not wearing his/her own helmet
  • Rider penalty for passenger on a motorcycle not wearing a helmet
  • Use a mobile phone while driving

Parkes Highway Patrol Sergeant Martin Ling is encouraging all road users to pay attention to road conditions and allow plenty of travel time over the holiday period.

"It’s estimated that one in three Australian drivers undertake risky behaviour on rural roads because they believe they won't get caught or perceive there to be fewer dangers.  The fact is that there are more fatal crashes on regional roads because we are in a high-speed environment. We had two deaths over the Australia Day long weekend last year and don't want a repeat this year.

"Drivers should be warned that they are at the greatest risk of losing their licence during this five day period. There will be more Police on the roads and therefore more chance of getting caught.

"We all have a part to play in reducing the number of crashes and risks. Remember to slow down, schedule plenty of breaks during your trip, don’t drink and drive, limit distractions in the car and ensure all your passengers are wearing their seatbelt," Sergeant Ling said.