The tenth phase of the 'Free Cuppa for the Driver' scheme was launched recently in Forbes and is now underway across 17 Council areas in the Hunter, Western and South Western regions of NSW for the next three months.

The launch was attended by around 30 people - participating businesses, NSW Police, Transport for NSW, Councillors, Council staff, other stakeholders and the public.

Templar Street was closed for a morning tea that celebrated the Forbes Bakehouse, the only business that has been participating for the 10 years the scheme has been operational, and officially launched the 2020 scheme.

Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shire Councils' Road Safety and Injury Prevention Officer, Melanie Suitor, said the success of the scheme hinges on the support and goodwill of the participating businesses.

"Running a small business can be tough, especially at the moment.  We'd like to thank 90 of our amazing participating businesses for their generosity, community spirit and willingness to donate their time and costs to helping fight driver fatigue and reduce the road toll across NSW.

"It's really humbling to see a project that we piloted here in Forbes, Parkes and Condobolin still be operational and have expanded and evolved the way that it has.

"Over the last 10 years we've worked with around 150 businesses across 25 Council areas and given away more than 23,000 free cuppas.

"During that same period, NSW has recorded a 19% reduction in fatigue-related casualty crashes," Ms Suitor said.

The scheme offers free cuppas to visiting drivers (more than 100km from their home address) at any of the participating businesses.  The Councils market and administer the scheme and the businesses provide the free cuppa.

The 'Free Cuppa' scheme is a win for local businesses who report increased business and a win for road safety as it encourages tired drivers to take a break.  As a result, it's attracted the support from NSW Police and other emergency services.

NSW Police's Western Region Traffic Tactician, Inspector Ben Macfarlane said that the scheme was such a simple live saving idea.

"Fatigue-related crashes can happen on any trip no matter how long or short or what time of day.  It’s important to think about how tired you are before driving, recognise the early warning signs when driving and know what to do to avoid driving tired.

"Fatigue-related crashes are twice as likely to be fatal because drivers who are asleep can't brake.

"By encouraging drivers to stop and have a break, this scheme is reducing some of the workload on us and other emergency services.  This program will actually save lives," Inspector Macfarlane said.

Visit the website (www.freecuppa.com.au) to find a participating business and get a free cuppa on your next trip.