28 March 2024

Additional demerit point added for all road offences as traffic ramps up this Easter long weekend

| Claire Fenwicke
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Don’t expect any leniency if you break the road rules this Easter long weekend. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Motorists have been warned to expect more traffic than usual as the latest public holiday kicks off.

The Easter break falls outside the school holiday period this year, meaning traffic is expected to peak Thursday afternoon and Friday morning as people knock off from work and hit the road.

ACT Policing Acting Inspector Mark Richardson, the officer in charge of road policing, said people should factor in an extra 30 minutes to an hour if they are taking part in the “great coastal migration” from Canberra to the South Coast.

“It’s not a long drive, but there will be a higher volume of traffic,” he said.

“It will just be busy.”

This will be no excuse for dangerous driving anywhere in the Territory.

“We would much rather you be delayed by a few minutes or even an hour than have a crash,” Act Insp Richardson said.

“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. That means slow down, overtake safely and pay attention to the road. Put the phone down because we want you to get to your destination safely. Help us do that by driving as safely as you can.”

Double demerits are in place in both the ACT and NSW from 12:01 am, Thursday, 28 March, until 11:59 pm on Monday, 1 April, meaning there are five days you could cop a larger punishment for speeding, seatbelt, mobile phone and motorcycle helmet offences.

An additional demerit point will also apply for all other traffic offences in Canberra.

Act Insp Richardson warned not to expect any leniency.

“We’ll have zero tolerance … there’s no such thing as a caution for us anymore,” he said.

“The only thing that works [in stopping illegal driving behaviour] is infringements; that’s the unfortunate reality of it.”

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Across the border, NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol South Superintendent Jo Thone said officers would saturate roads across the Hume, Wollongong, Lake Illawarra, South Coast and Monaro police districts.

“We will see a significant increase on our roads as people travel to and through southern parts of NSW this long weekend,” Supt Thone said.

“A reminder for all road users this weekend is to plan your trips, take regular breaks, don’t drive whilst distracted and don’t take unnecessary risks.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to be safe on the roads, and for those who break the road rules, you will be in our sights.”

Seven lives were lost on NSW roads over the 2023 Easter long weekend.

READ ALSO New weekend bus timetable boosts Saturday services, Sunday misses out

Transport for NSW Acting Chief Customer Officer Roger Weeks asked drivers to be flexible.

“We know from previous years where Easter hasn’t aligned with school holidays that heavy traffic starts to build on Thursday afternoon as school and work wrap up for the week and will continue into the Good Friday public holiday,” he said.

“With more cars on the road and potentially wet conditions along routes to popular holiday hot spots, we’re reminding people there will be an increased risk on our roads.

“Be flexible, plan your trip and check the forecast before you set off. That extra check could save a lot of time and stress by helping to avoid driving through storms or in the heaviest traffic.”

There will be extra eyes in the sky this long weekend, marking the first Easter break where Transport for NSW has deployed drones to monitor traffic at key pinch points on the network.

Traffic pinch points are expected at Nowra, Jervis Bay, Milton and Ulladulla on the Princes Highway in the south.

Traffic volumes are expected to swell again when NSW school holidays kick off in mid-April and ahead of Anzac Day on Thursday, 25 April.

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It never made sense that offences are worse over easter and more acceptable other times?

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