Motorists and riders have been asked to take more care on the road this week, after an “alarming” spike in fatalities recently.
Duncan Gay, minister for roads and freight, urged people to drive safely following the deaths of 44 people already this year.
“We’re just over a month into the year and sadly many families across our state are grieving the loss of loved ones,” he stated.
“We started the year so well, on track to build on two record lows and save even more lives from tragedy, but sadly the last few weeks have been heartbreaking.”
The minister’s comments came ahead of NSW Police’s Operation Saturation launch on Saturday (February 7), which runs until February 18 and aims to reduce the amount of car accident injuries and deaths occurring in the state.
NSW Police are targeting a number of unsafe practices, including speeding, mobile phone use, seatbelt offences and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“The January road toll is four deaths higher than the same time last year and it’s devastating to consider complacency could be a huge reason for the spike,” Mr Gay stated.
Operation Saturation targets speeding
Yesterday (February 10), NSW Police said the number of speeding offences committed in the first few days of the Operation Saturation campaign have been “disappointing”.
Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner John Hartley said travelling over the speed limit makes vehicles more difficult to control and significantly raises the stopping distance required when hazards are seen.
“The forces experienced by the human body in a collision also increase as the speed increases,” he added.
Marg Prendergast, general manager at the Centre for Road Safety, said the number of motorcycle accidents in recent weeks has been particularly worrying.
She explained that 13 riders died in January, more than twice as many as in the same month last year. This is also the highest number of motorcycle deaths in nearly two decades.
Motorcyclists aged in their 40s and 50s accounted for two-thirds of the fatalities last month, while country roads were considered the danger spot.
Ms Prendergast advised people to take special care when approaching rural bends and stretches. She also advised other road users to specifically watch out for motorcyclists, particularly when making turns at intersections.