AS DOUBLE demerit points kick in for the Australia Day weekend, police have warned "we will be everywhere".
Statewide, police will be targeting speeding, mobile phone, seatbelt and motorbike helmet offences during a high-visibility operation which starts at 12.01am on Wednesday and runs until 11.59pm on Sunday.
Double demerit points will apply for the duration of the operation and Traffic and Highway Patrol officers will be deployed across all areas of the Hunter for Operation Australia Day.
Newcastle-Hunter highway patrol Inspector Mick Buko said motorists should expect it to be "extremely busy" on all major roads with the public holiday falling on the Thursday and plenty of people choosing to take an extra-long weekend to soak up the last days of the school holidays.
"It is going to be slow, especially around that choke point at Hexham and down the M1 Motorway, the Hunter Expressway and the Pacific Highway."
He said highway patrol cars, which are all fitted with radar and number-plate checking technology, would be on all major motorways for the entire operation period.
"We will be everywhere," he said.
"On the motorways, but also on those back streets targeting people trying to sneak home who have had too much to drink or are driving with drugs in their system.
"We will be starting early in the morning and basically working 24 hours a day."
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The Hunter saw two fatal road incidents over the Christmas period, but overall the road toll is down across the state.
Head of safety at Transport for NSW Peter Dunphy said although the road toll currently stands at 13, which is seven less than for the same time last year, it is important motorists don't become complacent.
"Keeping safe on the roads is everyone's responsibility, so please make sure you're well rested before you set off, stick to the speed limit and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, put the phone away and never ever drive if you're affected by drugs or alcohol," Mr Dunphy said.
"Motorists should also remember that school zones are back in force from Friday, and it is especially important to slow down and take care in school zones at school times - even if you cannot see children near the road."
Inspector Buko was confident Hunter drivers would "look after each other" and encouraged anyone who sees dangerous driving, or someone doing the wrong thing on the region's roads, to immediately contact Triple-0 to alert police.