Police are warning motorists not to take any chances with fatigue, alcohol, drugs or distractions behind the wheel of a vehicle this Easter long-weekend.
Double demerit penalties will be in force from 12.01am Thursday until 11.59pm Monday as part of Operation Tortoise, the NSW Police Easter road blitz.
Chief Inspector Amanda Calder, traffic technician for the highway patrol between the Central Coast and the Tweed, told the Newcastle Herald there had been 41 deaths on roads in her area so far this year - up by seven from the same period last year.
She said too many people were taking risks, which jeopardised other peoples lives - not just their own.
"When it comes to a crash there is always a factor or a reason. It all extends back to people driving dangerously, whether that's breaking the speed limit, inattention or using a mobile phone, or of course alcohol," she said.
"I think people think it's visitors into the area [who drive dangerously] over the school holidays but it's not.
"It's quite obvious to me people are making idiotic mistakes that are resulting in serious consequences."
Police are expected to target local roads as well as major highways during the weekend's operation.
Chief Inspector Calder said families needed to have frank conversations with loved ones who were known to drive too fast, use a phone behind the wheel or "if pop likes to go and have a few beers then drive home".
"This is the problem, I always hear people say 'I don't know these people [involved in the crash] so it doesn't affect me'," she said.
"Unfortunately people see a ticket as a monetary punishment, for a lot of people they're more angry about that.
"Those people need to count themselves lucky they are able to stand there and have that conversation with police."
Highway patrol commander Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said more cars were expected on the state's roads this Easter long-weekend, given it was taking place only a few days before Anzac Day.
"We want motorists to take to the road responsibly and safely and remember any road they travel on there is a good chance police will be there too," he said.
It has been a horror start to the year on Hunter roads, with five fatal crashes in recent months.