21 January 2021

Double demerit points come into effect ahead of Australia Day weekend

| Gavin Dennett
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Police car on highway.

Police will be out in force this Australia Day weekend, with double demerit points applying until 11:59 pm on Tuesday, 26 January. Photo: File.

ACT Policing has issued a reminder to motorists that double demerit points come into effect at midnight on Friday, 22 January, ahead of the Australia Day weekend.

While the Australia Day public holiday isn’t until Tuesday, 26 January, and the Monday prior is not a public holiday, many people are expected to take an extended four-day break as the summer school holidays near their end.

ACT Policing is reminding drivers to watch their speed and obey the road rules, with double demerit points applying to infringements from tonight until 11:59 pm on 26 January.

During this four-day period, all speeding, seatbelt and mobile phone offences attract double demerit points, as does riding without a helmet. All other traffic offences will incur one additional demerit point.

ACT Policing’s officer in charge of road policing, Acting Inspector Nathan Macklin, said he expects to see an increase in the number of vehicles on Canberra’s highways this weekend given the easing of travel restrictions.

“With the ongoing and ever-changing situation with COVID-19, for many people this weekend will be the first time they’ve been able to get away from Canberra in some months,” he said.

READ ALSO There is no way forward without changing the date of ‘Australia Day’

“As such, roads in and out of Canberra are expected to be busy – almost certainly busier than usual.

“But whether you are travelling interstate, or simply travelling in and around the ACT during the next few days, road safety remains the responsibility of all road users.

“We want everyone to use our roads safely and respectfully.

“If you are travelling out of the ACT, I’d ask people to take their time getting to their destination, to take regular breaks, and to remain patient if you do encounter traffic congestion.

“I’d also encourage drivers to watch their speed, and ask themselves, ‘Who are you rushing to meet?’

“If you think driving a few kilometres an hour over the speed limit is OK, you’re wrong. This can greatly increase your chances of having a collision, and can make a collision significantly worse if you have one.”

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