13 July 2016

Drivers urged to take special care over long weekend

| Michael Reid
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Canberrans travelling in and beyond the ACT have been asked to take special care on the roads over the long weekend.

Double demerits will be in place from Friday until Monday in the ACT and NSW for a range of driving offences, including speeding, illegal use of mobile phones, not wearing a seatbelt, and riding a motorcycle without a helmet.

Police will also be targeting drink driving, with random-breath-testing sites at specific locations on routes leading to and from Anzac Day events.

“Both marked and unmarked police vehicles will be patrolling all major roads and back streets, so if you take the risk and drink-drive, you will be caught,” NSW police acting assistant commissioner Kyle Stewart said.

“If you plan to drink, leave your car at home, organise a designated driver, hail a taxi or catch public transport.

“It will be a busy weekend on the roads; the long weekend coincides with the end of the school holidays. So please take it easy as you travel to and from Anzac Day celebrations, or as you make your way home from your holiday.”

Police are urging the public to commemorate Anzac Day in a spirit of mateship and reverence without anti-social, dangerous or criminal behaviour associated with drinking too much alcohol.

In NSW, Operation Blueridge will begin at 3am on Monday and continue until Anzac Day festivities have concluded safely.

Local area commands will be assisted by officers from a range of specialist units, including the traffic and highway patrol, PolAir, mounted police, dog unit, licensing, and the public order riot squad.

“Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance that demands respectful commemoration by all,” acting assistant commissioner Stewart said.

“Given the importance of the day for Australians, we have been working closely with event organisers to ensure Anzac Day is enjoyable for everyone attending, particularly for our returned servicemen and women, their families and for the many communities that hold commemorative events.

“A particular focus of Operation Blueridge will be ensuring everyone in NSW can commemorate Anzac Day without fear of being troubled by drunken or violent behaviour.

“As this year’s Anzac Day falls on a Monday and creates a long weekend, we are anticipating some celebrations will stretch over the entire three-day weekend.

“By all means, raise a glass in memory of our fallen servicemen and women, but we also ask that you know your limits, drink responsibly and behave sensibly.

“Alcohol-fuelled violence and other anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated under any circumstances, and police will move swiftly to deal with anyone who is drinking to excess and causing trouble for others.”

NSW police will be enforcing alcohol-free zones and encourage anyone attending events in the Sydney CBD to check the City of Sydney website for more information: www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au.

A number of road closures, clearways and traffic diversions will be in place within Sydney’s CBD for the annual Anzac Day March, which starts at 9am.

Members of the public who are travelling into the CBD to watch the march are reminded the route has changed this year – for the first time in the event’s history.

With parts of George Street inaccessible due to construction of a light-rail line, the Anzac Day March will from this year onwards start at the intersection of Martin Place and Elizabeth Street, and proceed south along Elizabeth Street to Liverpool Street.

“Public transport is the best option for anyone planning to watch the CBD march, and police encourage people to allow plenty of time to plan their trip and find a good spot along the new march route,” acting assistant commissioner Stewart said.

“We remind people there are also plenty of suburban and regional events where people can commemorate Anzac Day; however, if you do choose to join the CBD celebrations, police will be out in large numbers to ensure the safety and security of everyone involved,” he said.

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