Double Demerits To Start Tonight As Police Promise Crackdown On Coronavirus Travel
Double demerits start tonight, with many motorists on the road this Easter weekend also facing on-the-spot $1000 fines for flouting coronavirus restrictions.
Across WA, NSW and the ACT, double demerits will be in place for five days starting from midnight Thursday and ending at midnight on Monday.
Motorists caught speeding, driving without a seat belt or using their phone could lose up to 10 points and may also be slammed with hefty fines.
Under 'Operation Tortoise', NSW police warn severe penalties will be issued to those found speeding in school zones.
"Breaking the school zone speed limit by less than 10km/h will draw a 4 demerit point penalty, doing so by more than 10km/h is an 8-point hit and exceeding by more than 20km/h... is a whopping 10 point penalty", a spokesman for the NRMA said.
L-Platers and P-Platers must be prepared to exercise extra caution as those caught speeding in a school zone will automatically lose their license.
Motorists using their mobile behind the wheel this holiday period will cop 10 demerit points along with a $344 fine.
Not wearing a seat belt will cost drivers six demerit points and a $344 fine. This increases to 12 demerit points when driving with two or more unrestrained passengers and can result in a fine of up to $1449.
In WA, higher penalties apply for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, not wearing a seat belt, using a mobile phone, speeding and driving through a red light.
Police warn these strict penalties over Easter weekend will be compounded by the new coronavirus laws.
Under the NSW Public Health Act, a person must not leave their home without a reasonable excuse.
Gatherings are limited to two and residents must stay at home unless travelling to work, buying goods and services, exercising or for medical purposes.
This means camping or travelling over the Easter weekend is not permitted.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, reminded the community it is not the time to be out on the roads unless it is absolutely necessary.
"Those who are driving on the roads during this long weekend will need to have a good reason to do so, but like always they need to abide by the road rules."
"Double demerits will be in place and police will be on the roads making sure that the rules are being adhered to."
In NSW, police can issue on-the-spot $1,000 fines, with a maximum penalty for breaching the rules of $11,000, six months in prison, or both.
The same penalties also apply in WA and SA.
In Queensland and Victoria, on-the-spot fines are $1,300 and $1,600.
The maximum penalty for breaching the rules is more than $13,000 in Queensland and nearly $20,000 for an individual in Victoria.
Bernard Carlon, Executive Director of the Centre for Road Safety, urged drivers to stay off the roads unless it's absolutely necessary.
"Our emergency services and hospital staff are already busy enough -- don’t add to their workload this long weekend by ending in up a crash because of a poor decision made on the road."
“If they must travel, we want everyone whether they’re in the city or regional NSW to arrive safely at their destination -- even if it’s ‘just down the road’ to your local grocery shop.”