The RAC is urging drivers to be extra careful on the roads this long weekend.
RAC General Manager Corporate Affairs Will Golsby said it is important to be extra vigilant as long weekends are some of the most dangerous times of the year for road users.
“Tragically, over the 2016 Labour Day long weekend 11 people were killed on WA roads. Although this number dropped in the same period last year, drivers should not become complacent,” he said.
“WA ranks as one of the nation’s worst when it comes to road fatalities and serious injuries, and this year we’ve already lost 23 lives on our roads.”
Mr Golsby said alcohol and distractions were the major causes of accidents on WA roads.
“Plan ahead this long weekend, if you’re going to have a drink, make sure you have an alternative way to get home,” he said.
“With inattention being a major factor in deaths and serious injuries on WA roads, we also urge drivers to put their mobile phone away while driving, or even turn them completely off.”
Double demerit points will also apply over the weekend, starting from midnight on Thursday, March 1 and lasting until midnight on Monday, March 5.
WA drivers will also have to obey new slow down, move over laws, which came into effect on Friday, March 2.
Under the laws, drivers will be required to slow down to a maximum of 40kmh when passing stationary emergency vehicles with lights activated on the roadside.
Emergency vehicles included under the laws include those used by WA Police, DFES, St John Ambulance, roadside assistance, tow trucks and Main Roads WA incident response vehicles that are responding to any roadside emergency across the state.
The penalty for not slowing down is $300 and three demerit points.
Esperance senior sergeant Jenny Sara said police will be targeting ‘prescribed offences’ including speeding, drink driving, failure to wear a seat belt and the use of mobile phones whilst driving.
“We will be increasing our traffic enforcement presence on the road for the long weekend because we don’t want anyone getting killed or getting seriously injured.,” she said.
Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts said the new laws would make the roads safer for emergency responders.
“Our emergency workers are there to help, and they deserve our respect and protection,” she said.
“Not only does this law fulfil an election commitment, it brings Western Australia in line with other states around the country.”