Operation Tortoise – Slow and steady, there is no race, NSW

On the 20th anniversary of double-demerit enforcement, senior police have joined forces with Ambulance NSW, to appeal for drivers to take it ‘slow and steady’ this Easter, NSW Police say.

Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy of the Traffic & Highway Patrol Command, said there have been too many lives lost on our roads this year, and many tragedies could have been avoided.

“After 20 years of double-demerits, it seems that people still don’t get it. During Operation Tortoise this Easter long-weekend, I want road users to remember to take it slow and steady, there is no race.

“We have already lost 91 lives on NSW roads this year. If people only slowed down, took regular breaks and avoided distractions, many of these deaths could have been avoided.

“The impact each death has on emergency services is incredible. We are the ones that respond, treat people at the scene, deliver death messages to family and friends, and investigate crashes.

“More importantly, each death affects that person’s family and friends for the rest of their lives.

“Let’s all work together to stop this needless and avoidable loss of lives on NSW roads.

“Please slow down, don’t drink or do drugs and drive, take regular breaks, wear a seatbelt, and put your phone away.

“We say these things over and over, but the truth is simple. These are the factors costing the lives of people on our roads,” Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.

NSW Ambulance Assistant Commissioner Peter Payne urged all those driving this Easter break to slow down, drive to the conditions, and plan ahead.

“While NSW Ambulance paramedics always respond to medical emergencies on our roads, we would prefer to see people arrive at their destination safely. Remember, everyone has family, friends and loved ones who use the road.

“For those planning to travel long distances or to an unfamiliar location, NSW Ambulance encourages people to download the free Emergency+ App to ensure they can readily provide our Triple Zero (000) call takers with their location in the event of an emergency, if required.

“The Emergency+ App displays the GPS coordinates of the phone’s location for the caller to relay to our Triple Zero (000) call taker.

“In the event of an emergency, knowing your location is crucial in ensuring we can get the right medical assistance to you when you need it, where you need it. Knowing your location could save a life,” Assistant Commissioner Payne said.

Bernard Carlon, Centre for Road Safety Executive Director, said there have been too many lives lost during holiday periods.

“It’s been 20 years since we introduced double demerits back in 1997 and we know they save lives.

“Since then, there have been 747 deaths on our roads over the 108 holiday periods up to and including the Australia Day holiday weekend in January.

“This is still 747 too many, but it also represents 433 fewer lives lost than for the same holiday periods before double demerits were introduced.

“That’s 433 people who made it home to their families thanks to this program.

“The last thing we want is for you to lose your licence this Easter, but we’d rather you lose your licence than lose your life.

“So drive safely this Easter. If you’re drinking leave the car at home and make sure you have a plan B. If you’re feeling tired pull over and take a break. And most importantly don’t rush, your family and friends would rather you are a bit late than lose you forever,” Bernard Carlon said.

Operation Tortoise – the Easter Long-Weekend traffic operation – begins just after midnight tonight tomorrow and concludes at 11.59pm on Monday 17 April 2017. Double-demerits will be in force throughout the operation.

From tomorrow there will be more police on roads targeting drivers for dangerous behaviours that have lead to loss of life on our roads, including; speeding, drink and drug-driving, mobile phone use, and not wearing seatbelts.

/Public Release.