Double demerits proposed for Northern Territory

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TAGS Safety Double demerits proposed for Northern Territory

21 December 2015 by Ashley Manicaros · News Corp Australia network

The Northern Territory is considering implementing a double demerit system for key holiday periods.

A double demerit points scheme could be introduced to stem the tide of deaths on Northern Territory roads after a horror year.

The Northern Territory's road toll stands at 48-10 more than last year and a higher per capita number than Afghanistan, India and Cambodia.

Other states and territories have introduced double demerit point systems during key holiday periods, including Christmas and Easter.

It comes on the back of a horror seven-day period which has seen five road deaths and a 24-hour period where another four drivers were caught with blood alcohol levels above .120, two of whom were already disqualified.

All those caught drink-driving were mature-age drivers over 30. Three of the readings were high-range – .164 to .184.

It has left first responders, including police and ambulance officers, pleading for drivers to be careful. Acting Commander Traffic Bob Rennie, a 34-year police veteran, said the disqualified were already "thumbing their nose" at the law.

"These people are getting on the grog and threatening every other driver on the road. We need to throw away the key with these types," Commander Rennie said.

"These aren't young people hooning around our streets, they are mature-age drivers and they should know better. And it astonishes me they are doing this."

The Northern Territory Government is now flagging the introduction of double demerit points to help combat the "deadly road toll".

A double demerit scheme is one of a few initiatives the Government is considering

Police Minister Peter Chandler said double demerit points was just one measure the Government is looking into.

"A double demerit scheme is one of a few initiatives the Government is considering to help assist the deadly road toll," he said.

"Other initiatives include possible accommodation deals, incentives for taxi drivers and hard-hitting commercial messaging.

"We as a government are 100 per cent committed to helping get the road safety message out there."

In WA, double demerit points have been in place for more than a decade. Since their introduction the number of traffic incidents, including alcohol-related fatal crashes, compared to during non-double demerit periods has reduced by up to 20 per cent in some cases.

Today more than a dozen community, commercial and first responder groups will come together to beg Territorians to buckle up, slow down and stay sober. "I plead with Territorians to abide by the road rules; slow down, don't drink drive, don't drug drive and organise a sober bob," Mr Chandler said.

The deaths of a man at Humpty Doo and a woman in Mataranka brought the NT's road toll to 48 for 2015. They followed just days after three people were killed in a head-on collision.

It is believed the car was travelling at 35km/h above the 100km/h speed limit on Tiger Brennan Drive.

Their deaths mean 19.5 people have died on Territory roads per 100,000 residents this year. In comparison, 15.5 people died per 100,000 in Afghanistan, while India's notoriously traffic-choked roads claimed the lives of 16.6 per 100,000. In Australia, there were five deaths per 100,000 people on roads in the 12 months to the end of November.

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