ANYONE caught using a mobile phone while driving will lose 10 points off their licence this long weekend.
For the first time, illegal mobile phone use has been included in double demerits, along with speeding, seatbelt offences and motorcycle helmet offences.
Operation Slow Down, the long weekend road safety enforcement operation, started at 12.01am on Friday and concludes at 11.59pm on Monday.
The operation will target the ‘big five’ causal factors behind serious injury and fatal crashes: speeding, drink or drug driving, seatbelt offences, fatigue, and distraction.
The campaign comes in the wake of news drink driving offences will attract a $561 fine and an on-the-spot three-month licence suspension under tough new laws passed through State Parliament on Thursday.
Roads Minister Melinda Pavey said the penalties would also apply to first-time drug presence offences detected by the state’s mobile drug testing (MDT) program.
“We needed a stronger deterrent. Last year 55 people lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes and 81 people died in crashes involving someone with illicit drugs in their system,” Mrs Pavey said.
First-time mid-range offenders will need to have an alcohol interlock device installed to prove they can separate their drinking from driving.
“The 0.05 limit has been in place in NSW for almost 38 years. Today is about driving home to the community that there are no more excuses,” Ms Pavey said.
“The message to the community is powerful. Have a Plan B. Because if you drink drive, you will be caught, and you will lose your licence.”
The sweeping reforms will commence from the end of 2018 and are a key priority of the NSW Government’s Road Safety Plan 2021.
Low-range drink driving offences apply to a blood alcohol level between 0.05 and 0.079.
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