Local businesses are invited to help tackle driver fatigue by registering to take part in this year's 'Free Cuppa for the Driver' scheme.
The multi award-winning driver fatigue awareness campaign has been saving lives on country roads since 2010 by encouraging drivers to take more breaks and avoid fatigue-related crashes. The scheme runs each year from March 1 to May 31.
Entering its 12th year, the scheme sees partnerships formed between participating councils and local businesses.
The councils provide the marketing and administer the scheme whilst the participating businesses provide the free cuppas. The campaign is supported by Transport for NSW.
Registrations for the 2022 scheme are now open, closing Monday January 31: go to www.freecuppa.com.au to sign up and find more information about the scheme.
Our Road Safety and Injury Prevention Officer, Melanie Suitor, said since its inception the 'Free Cuppa for the Driver' scheme has given away more than 27,000 free cuppas in 265 participating businesses across 91 towns, villages and cities in regional NSW.
"Times have been anything but 'normal' these last few years. We know that some Local Government Areas have been in lengthy lock downs and many small businesses are struggling," Ms Suitor said.
"We delayed our registration from the usual October deadline until Monday 31 January 2022, to allow for more clarity about what travel might look like and what COVID restrictions might be in place.
"We expect that with most state borders open, there will be a lot of people travelling to and through regional NSW."
Ms Suitor, who works in Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan shires, said the majority of participating businesses give away 15 to 30 free cuppas across the three month period each year.
"That's two to three per week," Ms Suitor said.
"Most travellers that claim free cuppas want to support the participating businesses and will buy extra coffees or food.
"Just being part of the network of participating businesses is already helping to raise awareness of the dangers of driver fatigue.
"Our deepest thanks to all of the businesses that have participated previously - we quite literally could not have run this program without your support."
Visiting drivers are entitled to a free cuppa at participating businesses if they are more than 100kms away from the address on their licence.
The scheme is operational across most of Western NSW and parts of the Hunter and South-West.