RARELY does a long weekend arrive in NSW without a seemingly simple warning from authorities that continues to elude some of the state’s drivers.
“When you behave dangerously behind the wheel, you aren’t just putting your own life at risk, but you are endangering the lives of other innocent road users,” NSW Centre for Road Safety executive director Bernard Carlon said on Thursday.
It is almost certainly not the first time Mr Carlon has uttered those words, and even less likely to be the first time the sentiment has found itself in the path of drivers.
Yet the statistics are clear that it is not soaking in for some drivers, who continue to defy the simple suggestion of self-preservation.
Anecdotally, it appears to be headed in the wrong direction in our neck of the woods.
The 0.05 limit has been in place in NSW for almost 38 years. We need a stronger deterrent.NSW Roads, Maritime and Freight Minister Melinda Pavey
Central West Police District chief inspector Peter Atkins on Friday said phone use while driving was still a big problem in Orange.
Sadly, there’s no need for anecdotal evidence when it comes to the high rates of drink driving in Orange – all one needs to do is see the flood of people being handed penalties for the offence in court on Mondays.
With one in every seven NSW crashes linked to drink-driving, any step that could cull one seventh of serious incidents on the roads would quickly curry political favour, and rightly so.
It was perhaps not surprising, then, that the State government tightened the screws in an announcement made last week.
Ahead of the long weekend NSW Roads, Maritime and Freight Minister Melinda Pavey announced new reforms that will loom over those who fail to adequately consider the safety of themselves and other road users.
First-time, low-range offenders will lose their licence for three months immediately alongside a $561 fine from the end of the year under the rules that have passed parliament.
“The 0.05 limit has been in place in NSW for almost 38 years,” Ms Pavey said, “we need a stronger deterrent.”
Perhaps these changes will do more than offer a political boost to the government.
Even though the new laws are still to take effect, the number of offences recorded this long weekend might be a decent guide to whether that’s true.
Here’s hoping it is.
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