NSW Police are encouraging drivers to travel through the holiday season with safety at top of mind, towards a better 2021.

The state-wide Christmas and New Year road-safety operation starts at midnight tonight and ends at 11:59pm on Sunday 3 January.

Double-demerit points are in force throughout the period for speeding, seatbelt, mobile phone and motorcycle helmet offences.

NSW Police officers will also be targeting other high-risk driver behaviour, including the Four Ds; drink, drug, dangerous and distracted driving.

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said road crashes have claimed the lives of 291 people in NSW so far this year and almost half of those fatalities involved speeding.

“It’s devastating that hundreds of families will celebrate Christmas without a loved one this year, and each one of those deaths was preventable,” Minister Constance said.

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Paul Toole, said 179 of those killed on NSW roads so far this year died as a result of crashes on country roads.

“Country people make up only a third of NSW’s population but last year deaths on country roads made up two thirds of our road toll,” Minister Toole said.

“We are asking people to plan ahead, put the phone away, buckle up, slow down, take regular breaks and enjoy our roads safely this summer holiday,” he said.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott is reminding the community to enjoy the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations but, most importantly, to arrive at your destination safely.

“Traditionally, we see more people on the roads during the festive season, and COVID-19 restrictions permitting, this year will be no different with people holidaying closer to home. Drivers need to remember to be patient and allow extra travel time,” Mr Elliott said.

Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander Assistant Commissioner Karen Webb says community safety is always the main priority for police.

“After the year that we have had, we want the community to arrive at their destinations safely to celebrate the festivities with family and friends. Help us keep you and your loved ones safe, there is no excuse for reckless and selfish behaviour,” Assistant Commissioner Webb said.

“Police will have a presence on all roads across the state, from major motorways to rural backroads, so have a Plan B to get home safely if you’re drinking, keep to the speed limit and always wear seatbelts.

“We continue to encourage the public to report anyone they see or know of breaking the law with the Four Ds – drink, drug, dangerous and distracted driving – to Crime Stoppers.”