As much we all enjoy long holiday weekends, the roads are anything but fun with heavy traffic and police out in force.
Usually every long weekend in most Australian states heralds the introduction of double demerit points to catch drivers breaking the road rules.
However, the New South Wales authorities have given motorists a reprieve for the upcoming Labour Day long weekend, saying they won’t be introducing double demerits for the holiday period.
It comes as the NSW government gets closer to opening up the state after weeks spent in lockdown battling one of the worst Covid outbreaks in Australia so far.
Relaxing the rules
The decision to not implement double demerit points across NSW was announced during a press conference held by NSW Police on Sunday afternoon.
In the conference, Police Minister David Elliot remarked that the decision was made taking into account the vast amount of rules in place during the state’s lockdown.
“It’s been a long, tough Covid-blighted year and the long weekend marks a point in this journey where we can see the finishing line now,” Mr Elliot said.
“Stay-at-home orders continue to apply to much of NSW so the only people on the roads in lockdown areas should be those with a reasonable excuse,” he added.
The announcement was made just one week before the Labour Day holiday on October 4 with extra patrols expected around the state to be watching for offenders from October 1 to 4.
As Mr Elliot announced the easing of the rules, he still reminded the public to not take advantage of the change and reminded everyone to be sensible on the roads.
“This is in no way a green light for drivers to break the rules and traffic and highway patrol officers will be out in force as per usual,” Mr Elliot said.
It was also backed up by comments made by NSW Police Commissioner Michael Fuller who reminded the public to “stick to the speed limit, put your phones down and observe the road rules.”
A lone move
While drivers in NSW might find themselves enjoying the slight reprieve over the Labour Day weekend, it isn’t the same story for drivers in other states enjoying a holiday this weekend.
For drivers in the ACT, there has been no reaction to the move made by their neighbours in NSW meaning that double demerits could still be applied to anyone caught breaking the rules during the Labour Day long weekend.
Likewise, Queensland authorities are not making any changes to their policies on double demerits as the state holds its Queen’s Birthday public holiday on October 4.
In a statement on their website, the Queensland government has reminded drivers that double demerit points can be handed out all year round in the Sunshine State and are not just an occurrence during public holidays.
It is the opposite stance to the authorities in South Australia where the state is also having a long weekend due to their Labour Day holiday on Oct 4.
However, in SA the police do not enforce double demerit points during public holidays, perhaps due to the fact that the state already has some of the harshest road penalties of anywhere in Australia.
With public holidays and long weekends looming in several Australian states this coming weekend, it is undoubtedly going to be a busy few days on the roads no matter where you may be.
That’s why it is worth taking a few extra precautions if heading out and sticking to the rules to avoid any unwanted attention from the authorities – double demerits or not.
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