Motorists Will Be Forced To Slow Down To 40Km/H When Passing Police, Ambulance Or Other Emergency Service Vehicles Under A State Government “Flashing Light” Trial To Stop Roadside Carnage.

Written by Ronak Shah

The Sunday Telegraph can reveal drivers will also be required to give way to any person on foot in the vicinity of an emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights, and not increase speed until “a sufficient distance past”. Motorists who disobey the proposed new regulation will face a $439 fine and the loss of three demerit points, or a maximum court penalty of $2200. The move follows ongoing pleas from the emergency services and comes after a young motorist ploughed into a random breath testing site, resulting in a police officer having to have his foot amputated after being crushed.

Over the years, there have also been emergency service workers have also been killed, while others have been injured from flying debris. Five years ago, the government attempted to address the problem with a “slow down and give us space” campaign, urging motorists to watch out for emergency workers near the road.

However, emergency service personnel — from police, firefighters and ambulance to the NSW Rural Fire Service and the State Emergency Service — continued lobbying for tougher regulations with similar laws to those recently introduced in Victoria and South Australia. The slowdown rule will only apply to emergency service vehicles with red and blue flashing lights, not yellow, with motorists to slow down “in a controlled manner” on the approach. It will not apply to motorists on the opposite side of a divided road separated by a median strip.

To avoid the confusion encountered in Victoria, which has similar rules, the NSW government is introducing the new regulation as part of a 12-month trial starting on September 1. In Victoria, motorists have been confused as to when they should slow down or speed up after passing a flashing light vehicle.

Roads Minister Melinda Pavey said purpose of the trial was to ensure motorists were well-informed by the time the regulation came into force. The government would monitor safety and traffic impacts over the trial period with consultations to take place with NSW Police, emergency service organisations and other stakeholder groups, she said. “The new rule will begin as a 12 month trial from 1 September 2018 following a comprehensive public education campaign,” Ms Pavey said. At the end of the trial, the results would be evaluated against the reviews of other states, she said.

Police and Emergency Services Troy Grant said proposed regulation would provide extra protection for emergency workers who often were forced to work roadside in assisting others. “Our emergency service workers and volunteers are out there every day, often putting themselves in harm’s way to protect us and keep us safe on the roads,” he said. “Our police, fire fighters, ambulance officers, State Emergency Service and rescue volunteers do difficult and dangerous work with little or no fanfare. “These new measures will help ensure the safety of our dedicated emergency service personnel.”

In Victoria, motorists must also slow to 40km/h when passing a “slow-moving vehicle”. The rule to be introduced in NSW rule will only apply to stationary vehicles with flashing lights. Senior Constable Jonathon Wright is still recovering from surgery after having his lower leg removed after it was crushed when a passing careered into him and fellow officer Matthew Foley as they set up an RBT site on February 16.




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