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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Anna Falkenmire

Drivers, boaties schooled on safety as holidays start

Highway patrol police have pleaded with the public to drive safely these school holidays. File picture by Peter Lorimer

SCHOOL will soon be out, but drivers and boaties will be taught a lesson if they break the rules these holidays.

Police have pleaded with the public to put safety first when they get behind the wheel, with families expected to hit the road during the two-week break.

"We urge people if they are travelling away during the school holidays to plan their trip, take regular breaks, don't speed," Newcastle highway patrol acting Inspector Glenn Swift said.

He told the Newcastle Herald that speeding was still one of the big risk factors in serious crashes.

He urged drivers to have a Plan B if they decided to drink alcohol.

The warning came after a 37-year-old woman was allegedly caught high-range drink driving an unregistered SUV in Newcastle with an eight-year-old child in the car on the afternoon of April 10.

NSW public school students will step out of the classroom this afternoon and won't return until Monday, April 29.

There will be five days of double demerits during the Anzac Day period, between April 24 and April 28.

"We encourage motorists to be courteous of others," Inspector Swift said.

He asked drivers to be patient and obey signage at roadwork sites, with major upgrades happening across the region, including the M1 Pacific Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace.

With warmer weather expected in the Hunter at the weekend and into next week, those hitting the water have also been urged to educate themselves and stay safe.

NSW Maritime will run Operation Stay Afloat - Reduce the Risk across the state this weekend to mark the start of the autumn school holidays.

A spokesperson said boating safety and education officers would flood coastal areas to target equipment, lifejackets and speeding offences, and to remind boaters how to have a safe day out.

Lake Macquarie is a notorious problem area for compliance.

Across the northern part of the state in the past 12 months, the majority of formal actions taken by NSW Maritime officers have been at Lake Macquarie, with more than 360 offences detected there.

The number of boating-related deaths in NSW has doubled from seven last financial year to 14 since July 2023.

The Hunter has been hit by severe weather recently - including strong wind and heavy rain - and the NSW Maritime spokesperson urged boaters to be aware of the conditions.

Rough weather had contributed to more than 100 serious incidents across the state in the past eight months, they said.

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