Police out in force on our roads these school holidays
WITH thousands of people expected to hit the road throughout regional NSW these school holidays, Coffs/Clarence Police District is urging those travelling to be alert and aware of their surroundings.
The NSW school holiday period starts on Monday July 6 and runs until Friday July 17, with thousands of families expected to head north to regional and coastal towns over the two week break.
Coffs/Clarence Police District Commander Superintendent Steven Clarke said so far this year the district has had 10 fatalities from seven crashes.
"This is ten too many fatalities," he said.
"We understand and appreciate everyone's desire to get out and explore parts of the state outside of our local towns, but with a large influx of traffic on the roads, we all have to be aware that some drivers haven't been behind the wheel of a car in three months.
"With Queensland reopening its border with NSW from July 10 and many people heading north to chase the warmer weather, we all have to be patient - there will be delays, there will be congestion, but please take your time and don't rush".
Supt Clarke said drivers need to ensure they take regular breaks at rest stops along the way, drive to the conditions and don't have their mobile phone anywhere within reach while behind the wheel.
"Before you head out for that road trip, make sure your vehicle has been given an appropriate safety check by a mechanic - particularly if it's been stored in a garage for some time collecting dust," he said.
"With a larger volume of vehicles and caravans on the road, we are urging drivers to please take it easy and don't rush - it's better to get to your destination a couple of hours later than not arriving at all."
Supt Clarke said popular locations within the Coffs/Clarence Police District such as Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga, Wooli and Yamba will likely see an influx of visitors during the next fortnight.
While regional travel has been approved, Supt Clarke said social distancing and coronavirus restrictions were still in place.
"Please keep in mind social distancing when out in public and adhere to all relevant COVID-safe plans and rules at pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants," he said.
"We aren't out of the woods yet with COVID-19, we all still have to be alert and following social distancing guidelines. This is even more important in regional and rural locations where a large portion of holiday-makers will be from out of town".
Superintendent Clarke said major roadworks are still ongoing between Grafton to Ballina and urged drivers to be patient and drive safely.
"If you do notice irresponsible driving behaviour on our roads, let us know. We have every available highway patrol vehicle working and remember that every police car is a mobile RBT," Supt Clarke said.