Road toll, Western NSW: Double demerit points, June 7-10

ACCIDENT ZONE: So far this year 37 people have been killed on Western NSW roads, this is 10 more than for the same period last year. Photo: FILE
ACCIDENT ZONE: So far this year 37 people have been killed on Western NSW roads, this is 10 more than for the same period last year. Photo: FILE

SO far this year, 37 families and communities in Western NSW have been left devastated.

They never realised that the last time they waved their loved one off, that they would never return.

Already this year, 10 more people have died on the region's roads compared to the same time in 2018.

With the road toll now sitting at 37, and long weekend double demerit points about to start, Western Region Traffic Tactician Inspector Ben Macfarlane said it was time for some hard facts.

Fatalities might have increased in the region, but he said the cause behind many of the deaths has left emergency services personnel stumped.

"With 50 per cent of the fatalities, there's no associating factor - there's no alcohol, no drugs, no speeding, no fatigue," Insp Macfarlane said.

With 50 per cent of the fatalities, there's no associating factor - there's no alcohol, no drugs, no speeding, no fatigue.

Western Region Traffic Tactician Inspector Ben Macfarlane

"The investigator couldn't put their finger on why they've come off the road."

Insp Macfarlane said in some of other cases, road conditions and animal strikes at dusk and dawn were contributing factors.

Seatbelts might have been compulsory in NSW for more than 40 years, but 10 per cent of those killed this year were not wearing one.

STAY SAFE: Western Region Traffic Tactician Inspector Ben Macfarlane says in the end it's up to motorists to do the right thing on the roads. Photo BELINDA SOOLE

STAY SAFE: Western Region Traffic Tactician Inspector Ben Macfarlane says in the end it's up to motorists to do the right thing on the roads. Photo BELINDA SOOLE

"Around 15 to 20 per cent of these people [the 37 deaths] had alcohol or drugs, or a combination of both, in their system," Insp Macfarlane said.

Double demerit points commence at 12.01am on June 7 and run through to 11.59pm on June 10.

During those four days, double demerit points will apply for speeding, mobile phone, seatbelt and motorcycle helmet offences.

Insp Macfarlane and his colleagues will focus their strengths on main roads and back roads, with a particular focus on known accident hot spot times.

"Because the fatalities are random in nature, we'll continue to use saturation policing," he said.

With more traffic expected to be on the roads this long weekend, Insp Macfarlane urged motorists to take their time and drive to the conditions.

"Police and our partnering road safety agencies are doing everything we can to help people out, but in the end it's up to motorists and their passengers to do the right thing," he said.

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