Don’t drink and drive this Easter

THE NSW Police, the Ballina Liquor Accord, Roads and Maritime Services and Ballina Shire Council are working together to remind drivers to be safe this Easter holiday.

Holiday periods and public holidays are notoriously dangerous on our roads.

Alcohol is a major risk factor in crashes.

Over the period from 2010 to 2014, there have been 62 local crashes involving drivers who were over the legal blood alcohol limit; five crashes were fatal with nine people killed and 11 seriously injured.

Local and highway police will be running 'Operation Tortoise' to target drink driving, speeding, people not wearing seatbelts, fatigue and driver distractions (such as mobile phones).

Drivers caught breaking the rules will face double demerit points from Thursday March 24 through to Monday March 28.

Thursday is a gazetted school day, and double demerits will also apply for all relevant school zone offences.

Sergeant Dave Carter from the Northern Borders Cluster, Richmond Highway Police said Easter 2015 was fatality-free in our area.

"Our goal is to have the same result this year," he said.

"All available Highway Patrol will be out and about over Operation Tortoise to maintain a high visibility on our roads.

"This will be supported by local police conducting random breath testing."

Road Safety Officer from Ballina Shire Council and Roads and Maritime Services, Helen Carpenter, said: "If you are planning to drink, then plan not to drive".

"There are plenty of Plan B choices."

Plan B options:

  • Get a taxi
  • Have a designated driver
  • Stay at a friend's house
  • Walk home

"The message is straightforward: we don't want people to drink and drive because of the crash risk to them and everyone else," Ms Carpenter said.

"The police are out to help prevent tragedy by taking driver drivers off our roads. Pick your Plan B before you go out."

Mobile phone offences will also be included in the double demerit period.

Offenders can lose an extra demerit point for illegally using their mobile phone; this offence is up from three to four points.

"Distraction will increase your chance of having a crash, so know the rules," Ms Carpenter said.

Reduce the temptation to use your mobile phone

  • Make sure your phone is secured in a cradle
  • Get a Bluetooth
  • Put your phone out of reach, such as in the boot!
  • Put your phone on silent
  • Divert your calls or delegate a passenger to be on 'phone duty'
  • Tell people not to call when you are driving

"Nothing is so urgent that you should risk your life this Easter," Ms Carpenter said.

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