Published: Jan 24, 2018

Six hours that could change your life – Operation Safe Return

The person most likely to be involved in a crash this Australia Day weekend is a male driver travelling on country roads between midday and 6pm, police provisional data has shown.

Minister with the police

Operation Safe Return, the Australia Day road safety enforcement campaign, starts at 0001 hours tomorrow (Thursday 25 January 2018) and concludes at 2359 hours on Sunday (28 January 2018).

Double demerits will be in force throughout the period for speeding, seatbelt, mobile phone and motorcycle helmet offences. Last year, 392 lives were lost on NSW roads. Between January 1 and 23 2018, 27 fatal crashes occurred on NSW roads, 29 people lost their lives on NSW roads during this time.

During that time, the majority of those who lost their lives on NSW roads were drivers (12), passengers (seven), pedestrians (six), motor cycle riders (three) and a bicycle rider (one).

NSW Police Force Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said provisional data showed 12 of those crashes involved single vehicles leaving the roadway. These vehicles either hit trees, barriers, stationary vehicles or rolled.

“We’ve seen over the Christmas period and into 2018 that lives are being lost on the road because some motorists have not been able to simply stay in their lane. Why?” Deputy Commissioner Burn said.

“This is why we talk about speeding, being distracted, driving when tired, alcohol and drug driving and not wearing seat belts.

“This weekend is all about getting from A to B and ensuring everyone can make a "Safe Return" and not sacrificing safety in moments of impatience or distraction while driving.”

Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey said people across NSW should enjoy the holiday weekend with road safety in mind at all times and urged all road users to play their part in making sure everyone has a ‘Safe Return’ at their destination.

“Sadly the loss of 392 people on NSW roads last year was 12 more than in 2016, and the highest road toll since 2010,” Mrs Pavey said.

“Just think of the thousands of people across NSW who have had to face heartache from these deaths and the many thousands more who are learning to live with lifelong injuries from crashes.

“Please take more care. We don’t want to see any tragedies that will ruin the end of your holidays.

“Remember it’s very important you don’t rush, don’t drive while tired, don’t drink alcohol or take any drugs before driving, don’t touch your mobile phone and always wear a seatbelt.

“Road safety is a shared responsibility so if you see unsafe behaviour - and you can prevent it - please do something about it!”