Double demerits are in force on NSW roads this long weekend but drivers are being warned there is much more at stake than losing a licence.
The focus of this weekend’s road campaign is driver fatigue, which NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay has said accounts for too many fatalities.
The Driver Reviver campaign will offer almost 80 rest stops for NSW motorists where drivers can “stop, revive and survive” during the school holidays and Labour Day long weekend.
“So far this year, we have lost 291 lives on the road, which is 37 more than the same time last year, and 65 of those are because of fatigue crashes,” Mr Gay told the media this week.
“The Driver Reviver program is more than just a coffee, a biscuit and a toilet stop – it is a life-saver.”
Along with encouraging safe driver behaviour, police are this weekend targeting speeding, drink or drug driving, driver distraction and not wearing a seatbelt.
Sam Hall, 19, of Sydney, who almost died in a car accident late in 2015, says motorists have more to worry about than double demerits.
Mr Hall, who now volunteers as a motivational speaker at high schools, told The Newsroom his whole life was impacted by the accident involving a drink driver and he is still recovering a year later.
“I was placed in an induced coma for nine days, part of my right hand and pinky were amputated, three broken ribs in multiple places, severe break of the C2 vertebra, a brain injury impacting all physical and mental areas of life, loss of my car and licence for medical reasons, I didn’t get to sit my HSC and I am unable to continue my career in soccer,” he said.
“I am now a motivational speaker, sharing my story to school students, making them aware of how easy it is to have an accident and encouraging them to make good decisions in all aspects of their lives.”
Mr Hall said he said people need to take responsibility for themselves, noting that young people were not infallible.
“Everyone just needs to pull their weight, be safe, and make sure they are safe for themselves and all individuals and families around them,” he said.
“I do believe that double demerits encourages safer driving, the extended loss of licence appears to deter people from doing stupid things.”
Double demerits apply from September 30 to October 3 for speeding, drink or drug driving, driver distraction and not wearing a seat belt. – Shelby Brticevich
Image of Sam Hall’s crash scene courtesy of Top Notch Video and (inset) photo of Sam Hall supplied.