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Operation Drink Drive 1 and Operation Saturation

NSW police launched two major road safety campaigns this week, Operation Drink Drive and Operation Saturation.

Operation Drink Drive 1 commenced on Thursday and runs until midnight on Saturday, 22 February.  As the name implies, it is aimed at drink driving.

Operation Saturation is a blitz on speeding which commences immediately after Operation Drink Drive 1 and runs for one month.

So far, 2014 has been a bad year for road trauma. According to the NSW Police Force press release, in the first 48 days of 2014, 57 people lost their lives on NSW roads, a 50% increase over the same period last year during which 38 people lost their lives. According to the press release alcohol was a major factor in about one in seven crashes involving a fatality.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner – Specialist Operations, Catherine Burn makes it clear that whilst random breath testing has had a major impact on the number of road deaths, the task is ongoing.  She said “In the year before we introduced RBT in NSW, the road toll was almost 1,300, compared to last years record low of 339.  Nevertheless, many people just don’t seem to be getting the message about the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol.  In 2013, we charged about 22,000 people with drink-driving offences”.

Police will conduct a high number of random breath tests this weekend.  We can also expect to see a high police profile during the blitz on speeding.

Tolls. How much are you paying?

Have you worked out how much you are paying in tolls on a daily, monthly or annual basis?

If you drive to work in Sydney it is highly likely you will be hit with a toll somewhere in your trip.  Some drivers can pay up to 5 or 6 tolls in a return trip to work each day.  The impost would be even higher for professional drivers such as couriers, taxi drivers and truck drivers.

As an example, a drive from Campbelltown or Liverpool to the city and return in a passenger car can cost as much as $24.47 per day.  That is $489.40 per month or $5,872.80 per year.

If you drive from Liverpool to the city, there is the M5 ($4.40), Eastern Distributor ($6.17) and the Cross City Tunnel ($4.95).  On the way home, there is the Cross City Tunnel and the M5 again.  Luckily, the Eastern Distributor only charges for north bound journeys.

The trap is that you pay each toll by way of draw down of funds from your account.  It is easy to overlook the total cost.

How much do you pay in tolls?

Changes to Learner Hours and Speeds, Plus New Restricted Provisional Licences

The NSW Government announced yesterday more changes to the logbook driving hours requirement for learner licences.

Learners who participate in a new Safer Driving Course will be able to reduce their compulsory supervised driving hours from 120 hours to 100 hours.

The reduction of 20 hours is in addition to the 20 hour reduction already available for having 10 hours of professional lessons.

In total, learners will be able to reduce their compulsory supervised driving hours from 120 down to 80 if they participate in the new Safer Driving Course and also have 10 hours of professional lessons.

The new Safer Driving Course will involve both theoretical and practical training and has been developed in consultation with safety and industry experts.

The government also announced that from 1 July 2013, learners will be allowed to travel at 90km/h, instead of the current 80km/h.

The final aspect of the announcement is that restricted provisional drivers licences are being tested in three remote communities in northern NSW.

The restricted provisional licences are designed to assist young drivers from remote, lower socio-economic and Aboriginal communities satisfy the requirements to get their P-plates.

Under 25 year olds from those remote communities will be eligible for the restricted provisional drivers licence if they have completed 50 supervised driving hours and have passed the driving test.  They will only be able to use the restricted provisional licence to drive to work, education and medical appointments.

Rego Labels Abolished

The NSW State Government has announced that registration labels for light vehicles will be abolished from 1 January 2013.

From that date registration labels will no longer be required for cars, motorbikes and trucks with a GVM up to 4.5 tonnes.

Registration labels are not a reliable indication that a vehicle is validly registered and in any case police check vehicle registration regardless of the label.

The RMS has introduced a facility for checking vehicle registration.  If you go to the free registration check page of the RMS website and enter a vehicle registation number, you will receive information on the registration status and on the current greenslip insurer for that vehicle.

New Learner Driver Course

The State Government announced this week that it will introduce a new course for learner drivers.

The course, which is still to be developed, will be aimed at giving learner drivers skills to become safer drivers.

A board of independent road safety experts and advisory panel will be appointed to make recommendations on the structure of the course.

Learner drivers who complete a safer driving course will have their log book requirements reduced from the current 120 hours to 100 hours.

Learner drivers will be able to combine the safer driving course with the three for one driving lessons concession to reduce their log book requirement to 80 hours.

Change to Demerit Points

Premier Kristina Keneally this week has announced changes to the demerit points scheme and changes to the requirement for signage for mobile speed cameras.

Unrestricted licence holders will receive one additional demerit point for a total of thirteen and professional drivers will receive an additional two demerit points for a total of fourteen.

The period to which points apply will remain at three years.

Demerit points will be reduced or removed for twenty-two driving offences.

Warning signs must be positioned at least fifty metres before vehicles containing mobile speed cameras and those vehicles must be signposted and marked in bright colours.

The News Release from the Premier setting out the changes is available on this site.