Police will use education as well as enforcement during their Easter long-weekend operation in a bid to stop a road toll that is out of control.
Police have launched Operation Merret, which they call an “unorthodox and proactive approach to road policing” that aims to empower motorists to make the right decision on the road.
Ninety-four people have lost their lives so far this year on NSW roads, a dramatic increase from the 68 who had died at the same time last year, while 17 have died on Western region roads.
The Easter road safety campaign begins at midnight on Thursday and will continue until 11.59pm on Monday. Police are promising a high-visibility presence during the busy holiday period.
“Every police officer in the state has been tasked with speaking to drivers, riders, passengers and pedestrians about their responsibilities and safe choices on and around our roads,” NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said.
“While we will continue to reduce road trauma through enforcement, especially during the double-demerit period, it is important that the community does their part in saving lives on our roads.”
Western region traffic tactician Peter McMenamin said locally that would mean police would take the opportunity to talk to motorists while performing random breath tests and roadside checks to remind them of the dangers of fatigue and general safety.
“It’s difficult for us to come up with different ways to get the message across but we have to keep trying because there has already been a significant loss of life this year. There have been 17 deaths on Western roads, compared to seven last year, and those deaths have had a real impact on the community.”
Inspector McMenamin said police would be performing mobile and stationary speed, alcohol and drug testing over the four days to ensure people get to their destination safely.
“It’s a restricted leave period so every car we have will be on the road and we will also be supplemented by officers from the metropolitan branch,” he said.