More than 50 people have suffered car accident injuries on the first day of NSW Police's Christmas-New Year driver safety campaign.
Operation Safe Arrival, which started on Friday (December 19) and will run until January 4, aims to highlight the dangers of carelessness behind the wheel.
However, with 51 people hurt over 184 major crashes within the first 24 hours, officers have issued an additional reminder to encourage individuals to be more vigilant on state roads over the festive season.
Between Christmas Eve and January 4, NSW Police will be enforcing double demerits for those caught speeding or driving without wearing a seatbelt or motorcycle helmet.
At time of writing, there had been one driving-related death in NSW since Operation Safe Arrival launched. A 28-year-old motorcyclist was killed when his bike collided with a car at Carringbah on December 19.
The long-term impact of car accident injuries
John Hartley, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command assistant commissioner, said car accident injuries have long-term effects that are evident "long after the headlines have faded".
He said the impact of a crash will also have repercussions for the injured person's loved ones, who will need to take care of the individual while they are recovering.
"You have the initial stages after the crash where a person might be in hospital receiving treatment for days or weeks," he explained.
"Then there is any rehabilitation that person might have to undergo along with the time away from their employment."
He claimed most accidents are the result of people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding or getting behind the wheel when distracted or tired.
Take care on NSW roads
According to Mr Hartley, the onus isn't just on the vehicle owner to make sure they drive safely.
"I am appealing to drivers and their passengers to think about the choices they make every time they get into a vehicle," he stated.
"If a passenger sees the driver is acting inappropriately, they should speak up."
NSW Police highlighted two specific incidents from Operation Safe Arrival so far, including one involving a 15-year-old boy driving a vehicle while his dad and brother were passengers.
The dad claimed he was feeling unwell and asked the teenager to take over, but he nonetheless received a penalty notice for allowing someone to drive who had never held a licence.
Separately, a 26-year-old man was issued a notice and had his licence suspended for six months after police caught him travelling at 190 km/h on Castlereagh Highway.