The road toll for 2015 is already 10% higher than 2014 and that has prompted Minister for Roads and Freight, Duncan Gay, to ask NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol to conduct an intensive, high-visibility operation called Operation Saturation to improve police visibility on the road and hopefully remind people to take more care when driving. The operation is funded out of the revenue derived from speed cameras.
2015 is following two record low years, and Mr Gay, along with various interested parties such as NRMA, NSW Police, NSW Motorcycle Alliance, Motorcycle Council of NSW, and the Centre for Road Safety were hoping to continue the trend. “We started the year so well, on track to build on two record lows and save even more lives from tragedy, but sadly the last few weeks have been heartbreaking,” Mr Gay said.
“Police will undertake Operation Saturation – a crackdown starting Saturday 7 February to Wednesday 18 February to tackle unsafe driving behaviour including speeding, drink and drug driving, mobile phone use and seat belt offences.
“In particular, Police will target the top 10 areas that have shown the highest number of fatal crashes in 2014 and 2015 to date.” he said.
With 44 people already dead on the roads compared to 40 last year, Acting Assistant Commission of NSW Police, Stuart Smith, added “Risk taking at high speed is a deadly combination and we’re appealing to people to consider just how fine the line is between a bad judgement and a death on our roads.
“We know if everyone’s vigilant, does the right thing and prepares for every journey we can bring the toll back down.”
“As the state’s motoring body we echo the appeal for motorists to take every precaution, every single step to ensure they make it home alive,” said NRMA president, Kyle Loades.
If you’re taking a summer journey, remember to plan it, take breaks, lay off the drugs and alcohol, put your mobile phone out of sight, and make sure everyone’s wearing a seatbelt.
“Compared with the same time last year, we have seen an increase in fatalities in January on weekends, during the afternoons and evenings,” said Marg Prendergast from the Centre of Road Safety.
“Most alarming is the significant increase in motorcycle fatalities. We know 13 motorcyclists died last month, which is more than double the figure for January last year and the highest number since at least 1996.
“We seem to have a problem with middle-aged riders, with two out of three of these motorcycle fatalities aged between 40 to 59 years.
“Most fatal motorcycle crashes so far this year are happening on weekends on country roads – so just think about that when you come to a rural bend or stretch.
“Don’t let that ride be your last – make the right decisions, manage risk and speed, stay alert, wear the right protective gear and Ride to Live.
“We also need drivers to watch out and check twice for motorcyclists, especially when making turns at intersections,” she said.
“Ride to Live is useful and relevant and we worked closely with the Centre for Road Safety to put it together and make sure it appealed to riders and motorists,” said Dave Cooke of NSW Motorcycle Alliance.
Visit Ride to Live for advice on safe riding: ridetolive.nsw.gov.au