December 2018 | Scott Freidman

The Christmas and New Year period is a time to enjoy the company of family and friends. However, the ‘silly season’ can also be a busy time of the year for lawyers. A combination of excessive alcohol consumption, increased traffic and heightened stress levels means clients and their loved ones may find themselves in an accident or otherwise having done something they later regret.

Many of you have young adult children, so the information below will apply more directly to them. We encourage you to pass on any information you consider relevant.

1. Avoid Drink/Drug Driving

Small towns and back roads are going to be the target of police breath test strategies to curb the Christmas holiday road toll. This follows a spate of horrific accidents on the roads of NSW last Christmas when 31 people died. Surprisingly, 42% of these fatal accidents occurred during daylight hours between 11am and 5pm. The NSW Police’s Operation Safe Arrival campaign for the Christmas period 2018 means there will be a focused RBT presence on country and regional ‘feeder’ roads such as those that link up with major arteries like the Pacific, Newell and Princes highways.

It should also be noted that MDT (Mobile Drug Testing) is increasing. Police are aiming to conduct up to 200,000 roadside drug tests each year in NSW. MDT detects in drivers the use of four common illegal drugs: estasty, cannabis, cocaine and methamphetamine (including speed and ice). The presence of the four tested drugs can be found in a person’s saliva for varying periods of time after drug use.

2. Be aware of the Christmas period road rules

Double demerit point periods run from Friday 21 December 2018 to Tuesday 1 January 2019 inclusively for the following types of offences:

  • Speeding.
  • Illegal use of mobile phones
  • Not wearing a seatbelt and motorcycle helmet offences.

With regard to mobile phone use while driving, new high-definition cameras have detected more than 11,000 drivers using their mobile phones during a month-long test in October of this year. Moreover, drivers in NSW who use a mobile phone illegally will be penalised five demerit points; during double demerit periods over Christmas and New Year, this will result in a loss of 10 demerit points.

3. Party hard, but not too hard on New Years Eve

Avoid the use of illegal intoxicants and excessive alcohol consumption. If you, or a member of your family, are arrested we recommend you seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. The general rule upon arrest is that you are not required to provide information to the police with the exception of your full name and address. However, additional rules can also apply to motor vehicle related offences including the provision of your driver’s license as well as details about the identity of the driver of the motor vehicle involved.

Harris Freidman Lawyers wishes you and your family an enjoyable and safe Christmas and New Year. If you find yourself in legal trouble, please contact us on 9231 2466.