Scheduled News

Motorists across the Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shire Council areas are being reminded to drive safely and to remember that double demerits will be in place for five days over the Easter holiday period, from 1 April to 5 April 2021 inclusive.

The Councils' Road Safety and Injury Prevention Officer, Melanie Suitor, said that double demerit points will apply for all speeding, seatbelt, motorcycle helmet and mobile phone offences.

"We anticipate that there will be a lot of traffic on the roads during the Easter holiday period as people head off for a break or to visit loved ones.  With this increase in traffic comes an increased risk of crashes occurring.

"I ask all drivers to remain vigilant.  We all have a part to play in reducing the amount of crashes and risks.  Remember to slow down, schedule plenty of breaks during your trip, limit distractions in the car, don’t drink and drive and ensure all your passengers are wearing their seatbelts.

"Driving is a complex activity, anything that takes your hands off the wheel, eyes off the road or mind off the driving task is dangerous, not just for you, but everyone else on the road.  Being distracted when driving, such as by a mobile phone, increases the risk of a crash. Simply taking your eyes off the road for longer than two seconds, doubles the risk of a crash.

"Mobile phone offences were added as a double demerit point offence in December 2015.  Fixed and mobile mobile phone detection cameras have been operational in NSW since early 2020.  Just like NSW Police, these cameras can enforce illegal mobile phone use whilst driving and issue fines.  Drivers caught illegally using their phones during a double demerit period will be hit with a $349 fine and 10 demerits," Ms Suitor said.

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

“People may think that it is never going to happen to them – but unfortunately none of us are immune.

"Despite seatbelts being legal since the early 1970s, complacency seems to have crept in and not wearing a seatbelt has been a factor involved in the last three fatal crashes on our local roads.  Please wear your seatbelt, it will stop you from being ejected from the vehicle if you are involved in a crash.

"Drivers should be warned that they are at 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," Sergeant Ling said.