Police say driver error main cause of NSW road toll

DRIVE to the conditions, use extra caution and remain calm despite the congestion.

That's the message from the NRMA as motorists negotiate North Coast roads during the busy holiday period.

The NSW holiday road toll climbed to 20 as of yesterday, with Operation Safe Arrival ending at midnight last night.

NSW Police Traffic Services Commander, Chief Superintendent John Hartley, said the saddest thing was the number of mums who had died in smashes while travelling with their children during the holidays.

"While the cause of many of these crashes is still under investigation, our preliminary inquiries tell us driver error has played a large part," Mr Hartley said.

"Eleven people died in country areas and nine in metropolitan areas. Eight women, seven men and five children were killed in crashes across the State.

"This is 20 families in this State whose lives and holiday memories are tainted forever.

"For those who are travelling home, I urge them to think about these families and slow down."

As of late yesterday, police had charged 20,171 people with speeding offences since Christmas Eve. They also conducted 244,680 random breath tests, resulting in 1105 drink-driving charges.

More than 700 people have been injured in 1824 reported major crashes ? 77 less people injured than for the same period in last year's operation.

Meanwhile, the NRMA has called on the State Government to 'get serious' about increasing the police presence on NSW roads.

"We want an increase in total police numbers with more police dedicated to highway patrol duties," an NRMA Motoring and Services spokesman said.

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