We remind motorists that double demerits apply from 22 to 25 April 2016 inclusive. Please drive safely and take extra care on the roads.
Also, on 4 January 2016the standard penalty for mobile phone offences rose to four demerit points. Since the end of last year, mobile phone offences have been included in double demerit periods. This means those caught talking or texting illegally while driving during this ANZAC weekend will incur eight demerit points – a huge amount when the threshold on unrestricted licences is 13 points.
The double demerit point scheme now applies for the following types of offences:
Illegal use of mobile phones
Not wearing a seatbelt
Riding without a helmet
The scheme is designed to encourage safe and responsible driving. Working in conjunction with financial penalties, demerit points provide a strong incentive to drive within the law.
Double demerit periods were introduced in 1997 in NSW. By law, double demerit periods must be advertised and awareness campaigns are co-ordinated with traditional enforcement and increased police numbers. See the RMS Demerits points page for a full rundown of offences and penalties.
Do you think the Double Demerits scheme is an effective way of preventing dangerous driving?
Charging devices, pre-loading movies, planning safe rest stops and counting NRMA Patrol Vehicles are among a new list of safety tips released by the NRMA ahead of the start of the NSW school holidays this weekend.
Almost 40 per cent (36%) of crashes caused by distractions occurred as a result of distractions from within the vehicle. As many as one in 10 fatalities in NSW have been attributed to driver distraction.
NRMA Senior Policy Advisor Dimitra Vlahomitros said bored children in cars could become an annoying distraction for drivers.
“Kids aren’t used to road trips as part of their normal routine so they’re more likely to become bored, agitated or fight with their siblings,” Ms Vlahomitros said.
“Parents need to remember: reducing the risk of distraction means reducing the risk of a crash that could result in a devastating end to the holidays.”
Road trip recommendations from the NRMA include:
Load up fully-charged smart devices with family-friendly movies (in case of poor internet service) and make sure each child has their own headset so the only tunes the driver hears are the ones they choose to play through the radio
Refreshments are also important for a stress-free journey. Pack healthy snacks and plenty of water.
If packing toys, try to make sure they’re not sharp (crayons or pencils) as these can become dangerous in the event of having to stop the car suddenly.
Play games to take the monotony out of the trip, these can include getting children to follow their route along a map, count windmills or even count NRMA Patrol Cars!
Sleep is the only effective guard against tiredness: so don’t cut your sleep short to reach a destination sooner.
Drive to the conditions of roads, not to the speed limit.
Make sure you stop in a safe place every two hours and get out of the car; plan a beach stopover for the kids if driving on the cost.
Pack plastic bags and baby wipes for unexpected spills or accidents.
Pack a ball to encourage the whole family to actively enjoy rest stops.
Make sure your child restraints are fitted properly and if you’re not sure, have them professionally fitted or inspected.
Ms Vlahomitros said sticking to these tips as well as applying a good amount of common sense can help make a family holiday a safe one.
“With the right preparation, long road trips can be enjoyable and safe for everyone,” she said.
Learning to drive is one of the biggest things in a young person’s life. Your supervision can get them on the right track to be safe and confident on the road, but before you sit down in the passenger seat make sure you’re prepared.
Before you get on your way
Check your insurance policy – does it cover young drivers? Call your provider if unsure.
Make use of NRMA Free2Go. Free2go Membership is specifically designed for the needs of 16 to 20 year olds who are learning to drive or have their licence. Membership is free for the first year if you’re 17-20 years old or free for two years if you’re 16 years old.
Make use of available resources. The Learner Log Book provides an excellent overview of the right order to introduce new driving skills and experiences to your learner, along with key points that need to be covered.*
The keys2drive program is also great. Funded by the Australian government, it provides the learner and the supervising driver with a free session where both are in the vehicle. Both are able to learn from a professional driving instructor, such as many of those from NRMA Safer Driving School.
Before you get into the car
Plan your trip: Sit down with your learner and discuss the drive you’re about to go on. Map out the trip and establish the learning goals and objectives. Follow a plan to reach them.
Supervise in all conditions and situations: Don’t be hesitant to let your learner drive when it’s raining, at night or even in fog. These are realistic situations they will face when they become a provisional driver, so the more they experience driving in these conditions the better.
Prepare yourself: Your mood and emotions can affect your teaching style, so never supervise when you’re tired, stressed, in a rush or anxious. It sounds simple but the best way to calm yourself down and prepare for a supervising session is to breathe. Take 10 mins to get yourself into the right headspace and maybe even think about what your fears may be. Discuss these with your learner to come up with a strategy to overcome them.
Before you head off
Prepare the learner: Ensure they are seated comfortably with the correct posture. This means ensuring they have a gentle bend in their knees, they are sitting up straight with the head support resting at least eye level, and that their wrists align with the top of the steering wheel, with a slight bend at the elbows. Make sure they are able to see all mirrors and adjust them if needed.
Coach rather than instruct: Get your learner thinking. Rather than telling them everything they should be doing, ask them and let them come up with some of the decisions. The tuition style of NRMA Safer Driving School is focused around independent learning. This can involve the instructor ‘talking forward’. For example, when approaching an intersection with a set of lights, they will ask the learner what the next step will be, ie, “We will be turning right at the next set of lights. What do you need to do to prepare for this?”
Give them more independence: As your learner gains more experience let them choose the route, have music on or other people in the car. Otherwise, the day they get their provisional licence will be the first time they experience this and they may not be adequately prepared.
Let them drive in all types of environments: Including when it’s raining, in fog and at night. They will experience these conditions once they are a provisional driver.
Debrief: Talk about the lesson once completed. Did you meet the learning goals and objectives? Document the outcomes and talk about what you should focus on next.
What about you? Have you ever supervised a Learner? What tips do you have to make it a good lesson?
Easter is a really busy time on our roads, but unfortunately it’s also a period of high risk. That’s why the NRMA has teamed up with local councils surrounding the NSW and ACT border to remind motorists that they “don’t have to be speeding to be driving too fast on country roads.”
The Easter Country Road Safety campaign was launched early this month after local data analysis by Yass Valley Council found as many as 33 per cent of local accidents involved drivers from other Local Government Areas. The campaign encourages motorists to consider the following:
1. Slow down on country roads, driver to the conditions
2. It takes longer to stop on gravel roads and no time to lose control
3. Expect the unexpected – animals, livestock, machinery and trucks
4. Don’t swerve for an animal – break, flash your lights, hit your horn
5. Remember: country road conditions change rapidly
Research has shown that a high number of country road crashes are ‘off road’, suggesting motorists may be selecting inappropriate speeds while driving on lower standard roads, and that interstate traffic may be unfamiliar with more varied road environments.
“Those unfamiliar with country roads might get a little nervous when they hit gravel roads or are confronted with animals crossing the road,” says NRMA Director, Kate Lundy.
“Likewise, those who are familiar with the roads and conditions may get complacent, and this can be a recipe for disaster when combined with long drives or night time conditions.”
Will you be driving on country roads these Easter Holidays?
Have you seen people drive while wearing headphones?
Although wearing headphones while driving is not explicitly illegal, the practice is dangerous and could result in prosecution if deemed to be the cause of an accident.
A distraction, including wearing headphones emitting loud music while driving, could come under NSW Road Rule 297(1). This section of the Road Rules is a catch all provision that covers any distraction that causes a driver not to have proper control of a vehicle and, for example, have an accident.
In some circumstances it may also be possible that the sound coming from the headphones causes a significant enough distraction for the driver not to have proper control of a vehicle, that a police officer issues an infringement notice even where there isn’t an accident (for example where there is a near miss situation).
Drivers should always be alert to what is happening around them. By using headphones, the driver is likely to be less aware of the surrounding traffic conditions. If you wear headphones that dull or block out other sounds, you may not hear sirens or horns, which could get you and other drivers into big trouble. It’s simple, your hearing is an essential tool in your overall driving skills package.
Do you often see people driving with headphones? Do you think this practice should be made illegal?