Double Demerits Hit WA This Long Weekend

Double demerits come into effect across Western Australia this long weekend, and the RAC is urging motorists to be vigilant during one of the most dangerous driving periods of the year.

Three people have lost their lives on WA's roads over the Queen's Birthday long weekends on average each year between 2014 and 2018. Last year three people were killed and another 17 left with serious injuries.

The combination of the AFL Grand Final, school holidays and Perth Royal Show means more cars on the road, and more chance of a crash, RAC General Manager Corporate Affairs Will Golsby said.

Image: Stock, Getty

"Footy fans celebrating the Grand Final weekend shouldn't drop the ball on road safety and need to remember that a split-second decision can end in tragedy," he said.

"If you're drinking, make sure you've planned a safe way to get home without driving -- you shouldn't be sharing the roads with the thousands of young families enjoying the start of the school break.

Long weekends are also a popular time to get away and this often means driving for long stretches of time on unfamiliar roads.

"Fatigue, speeding and inattention are major factors in road trauma, so we urge drivers to be patient, stick to the speed limit, take regular breaks and put your devices away, so you can enjoy a distraction-free journey."

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Already this year 130 people have been killed in crashes across WA, with nearly 60 percent of these on regional roads. In 2018 a total of 158 were killed on the roads.

"WA's road fatality rate is one of the highest in the country and long weekends are some of the most dangerous times of the year for road users," Golsby said.

"We all have a responsibility to make safe decisions so that everyone arrives at their destination."

RAC's tips for a safe road trip:
  • Abide by road rules and reduce your speed for the conditions
  • Put your phone away while driving or turn if off completely
  • Get plenty of sleep before a long journey
  • Take breaks every two hours
  • Don't overtake unless it's safe to do so
  • Keep a look out for wildlife warning signs in the area
  • Keep your headlights on
  • Plan your route beforehand so you know where you're going
  • Check where the rest stops and petrol stations are along the way
  • Perform a basic vehicle check before leaving including your oil levels and tyre pressure
  • Clean your vehicle's windows and mirrors, and ensure your windscreen washer bottle is full
  • Check your spare tyre is secured and in good condition

Double demerits are in place until 11.59pm on Monday, September 30.