Tough road rules come into force today

Countrywide police put major resources into patrolling roads on long weekends. Picture: NewsWire / Gary Ramage

Double demerits for motorists will kick in from midnight until the end of the King’s Birthday long weekend, with police revealing the most dangerous times to be on the road as they prepare for the public holiday crackdowns.

From 12.01am Friday, to 11.59pm Monday, drivers in New South Wales are subject to double demerit point penalties for speeding, mobile phones, seatbelt, and motorcycle helmet offences. Thirteen people died during the King’s Birthday long weekend on NSW roads last year.

Victoria, NSW, Tasmania, the ACT, South Australia and the Northern Territory observe the King’s Birthday public holiday on Monday, June 10.

New South Wales police have the power to issue to double demerit points for certain offences this long weekend. Picture: NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

Police will be out in force across those states and territories.

NSW Police will be handing out double demerit points for those speed, phone, seat belt and motorbike offences for the next four days.

NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley said “be safe and drive to the conditions so you can return home to your loved ones”.

“We don’t want to see dangerous behaviour on our roads. We all have a responsibility every time we get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Don’t speed, don’t drink, or take drugs and drive, and don’t use your mobile phone while driving,” she said.

“And if you’re feeling tired, the only way to fight fatigue is to take a rest.”

Police Presser
Members of the public can report dangerous driving to Crime Stoppers. Picture: NewsWire / Daniel Pockett

NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner Brett McFadden, said police were concerned about the busy long weekend, after 13 people died on roads last year.

“Just in the past few weeks alone we have seen multiple fatal crashes on our roads. This should not be acceptable to us as a community.

“But it is not just the responsibility of police to ensure road safety is enforced. I would urge anyone who is a passenger in a vehicle to call out the bad behaviour of drivers,” the Assistant Commissioner said.

“You may not only save your own life, but someone else’s too. It’s up to all of us to do better.”

Fatality Scene
Victoria Police data shows afternoons in winter are the most dangerous times on the road, specifically on Fridays. Picture: NewsWire / Daniel Pockett

While Victorian police do not have double demerit point powers, the force issued more than 6500 infringements from the Friday to the Monday of last King’s Birthday weekend.

About 40 per cent - or 2652 drivers - were caught speeding, about 260 had too much alcohol or drugs in their system, and 224 people were caught using their phones.

With events, festivals and snow on the Alps ski fields, Victoria Police will be on major arterial routes this weekend.

“As always, police will be highly visible and enforcing across the King’s Birthday long weekend,” road policing Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir said.

Police Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir leads the long weekend crackdown in Victoria. Picture: NewsWire / Ian Currie

“If you’re caught doing the wrong thing and put other road users at risk, you will be penalised.”

Data shows midday to 6pm is the time of day most crashes happen during the winter months.

“The afternoon is the most dangerous time on the roads in winter,” Assistant Commissioner Weir said.

“We know it’s a time of day when there’s a lot of traffic on the roads but in the colder months it’s also darker earlier and motorists have to contend with wet weather.

Queensland does not have a public holiday on Monday, but just across the southern border New South Wales does and police there can dish out double demerits this weekend. Picture: NewsWire / Dan Peled

“That means it’s harder to see, takes more time to stop when the road surface is slippery and there’s less room for error.”

The Victoria Police data – covering the past five years – shows on average 43 per cent of winter collisions occur between 12pm and 6pm.

About 7800 injury collisions happened during the time period between 2019 and 2023.

On Fridays in winter, between 12pm and 6pm, is the worst period, with about 1200 injury collisions and 21 fatal crashes during the five-year period.