DOUBLE demerits are in force for all but one of the next 10 days as police hit the roads for the Easter and Anzac long weekends in two blitzes.
The first, Operation Tortoise, started at midnight on Wednesday, and drivers will be slugged 10 demerit points and a $448 fine if caught touching their phone while they're behind the wheel.
Local police say they will also be on high alert for drink-driving, which has been a problem in and around Tamworth lately.
"We have had a spate of people leaving Tamworth, driving home the back way or on the back roads drink-driving," Oxley highway patrol Sergeant Michael Buko told the Leader.
"They're trying to avoid being caught, but it doesn't work, because we are on those smaller roads or those quieter streets and we are catching them.
"And make no mistake, we will be out every day and night testing those drivers who are on the roads."
Operation Tortoise will run until midnight on Easter Monday before Operation Go Slow - which will police Anzac Day and the end of the school holidays - ramps up at midnight on Tuesday.
Double demerits are in force for all speeding, seatbelt, mobile phone and helmet offences, and police have extra cars in the Tamworth and wider New England area.
"Don't drink and drive; don't take drugs and get behind the wheel; wear a seatbelt; and take it easy on the roads by driving to the conditions," Sergeant Buko said.
But it's the long weekend and it's not worth it. It is not worth a $1000 fine and losing half your licence, or putting the safety of you and your family, as well as the other road users, at risk for the sake of a minute or two. You will get there, but a minute or two later.Sergeant Michael Buko
"We know speeding costs lives. As police we see it.
"We continually catch people every day in Tamworth. They are locals, and it's in and around town or rushing out on the highways.
"But it's the long weekend and it's not worth it. It is not worth a $1000 fine and losing half your licence, or putting the safety of you and your family, as well as the other road users, at risk for the sake of a minute or two. You will get there, but a minute or two later.
"And it will be worth it, because you'll have your licence, you won't have a massive fine, and everyone gets to their destination safely."