Harsher penalties will be imposed on drivers caught drink and drug driving in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, from next year and speed camera warning signs will also be scrapped.

The new law, combining drink and drug driving and changes to the mobile speed camera program, are part of a major crackdown on offences to save lives on the roads.

“Research shows you are 23 times more likely to crash if you are under the influence of both alcohol and drugs – this massive, life-threatening risk needs a stronger penalty,” said Minister for Transport and Roads, Andrew Constance.

Transport for NSW highlights that, since 2015, there have been 101 serious crashes involving a driver or rider with illegal levels of both alcohol and drugs in their systems. In the crashes 98 people were killed and 52 seriously injured.

Constance says changes to the mobile speed camera program, including the removal of warning signs, will roll out over the next 12 months and bring NSW in line with other jurisdictions.

“This is about changing culture and changing behaviour,” he added. “We’ve seen it happen with our world leading mobile phone detection program, where the rate of people offending has steadily declined. No warnings signs mean you can be caught anywhere, anytime and we want that same culture around mobile speed cameras.”

Independent modelling from Monash University Accident Research Centre found these enhancements to the mobile speed camera program may save between 34 and 43 lives, and prevent around 600 serious injuries in NSW each year.