NSW Police car

Double Demerits Over the Easter Long Weekend


Double-demerit points are in in force for an extended period this Easter, to include the Anzac Day holiday.

Double-demerits start today and run until April 22, then start again on April 24, and run through until April 28.

The double demerit points period applies from 12am today until midnight, meaning there will be a total of ten days when they will be in place.

Double demerit points apply for speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, not wearing a motorcycle helmet, and mobile phone offences.

Police will be out in force, with more than 6,000 additional policing hours applied across NSW over the holiday period.

But despite the extra police hours and the millions spent by the State and Federal Governments to keep our roads in good condition, road deaths have continued to mount in recent years.

Easter Road toll

Last year the national road toll over the Easter break rose for the second year in a row, with one of the most tragic events occurring in Sydney’s southwest on Good Friday when a 26-year-old male driver crossed to the wrong side of a road and collided with seven other vehicles, killing one person and injuring 14.

The driver was charged with 13 offences, including manslaughter, aggravated driving occasioning death and four counts of aggravated dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.

Last year, in NSW alone, 7750 drivers were also detected speeding over the four-day break, 355 road crashes were recorded state-wide and, of 280,947 breath tests conducted, 294 charges were laid for drink-driving.

In early December 2018, the NSW Government introduced tougher penalties for drink drivers, including the possibility of immediate licence suspension and / or vehicle confiscation for repeat offenders.

Drink driving is a serious offence in New South Wales, punishable by fines and time behind bars. If you are convicted, it is possible that you may also be ordered to install an interlock system which will breathalyse the driver, who must pass a breath test, before allowing the engine to start.

Stay safe on your road trip

Behind speed and alcohol, fatigue is the third killer on our roads, contributing to 20 percent of road fatalities annually. But it’s a scourge that we don’t often talk about, or hear about.

The studies suggest that being awake for around 17 hours produces a similar effect on your mind and body’s performance to having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05. The research also predicts that drivers are four times as likely to have a fatal crash while driving in what’s considered their body clock’s ‘normal’ sleep hours – between 10pm and dawn.

Risks are increased while driving alone, on rural roads, trying to ‘beat the traffic’ and driving longer distances than normal, so if you are travelling to see family or friends make sure that you take regular breaks, are hydrated and properly nourished.

Modern cars – with automatic gear shifts, cruise control and air-conditioning – can make driving way too comfortable, contributing to sleepiness and the onset of ‘micro sleeps’.

Drive to the conditions

In recent weeks, Police and other Road Safety Group social media pages have shared warnings about driving in heavy rainfall, and the need for drivers to adapt to the conditions of the road. In heavy rain, make sure your lights are on, and that you are aware of the effect of slippery, wet roads on your braking. If visibility is very poor, drivers are being urged to pull over where possible to do so safely, and wait for the rain to pass.

There are more cars on the road than ever before, with more than 6.4 million registered vehicles in New South Wales alone. And we all have a responsibility to take care and drive responsibly and keep the road toll down.


Sonia Hickey

Sonia Hickey

Sonia Hickey is a freelance writer, magazine journalist and owner of 'Woman with Words'. She has a strong interest in social justice, and is a member of the Sydney Criminal Lawyers® content team.