Everybody has heard the urban myth about the driver who escaped a speeding fine because the police officer that issued his ticket wasn't wearing a high visibility vest for Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S). So, with CarAdvice reader Trent e-mailing us with that exact question this week, we set off to investigate.
Q: Hi guys. Love the site! Keep up the great work.I'm from Victoria and a friend told me recently that police can't issue you with traffic infringements if they are not wearing high visibility reflective vests for safety. Is this right?
A: Good question, Trent. In fact, it's one that has been doing the rounds for some time — where the individual fought a speeding fine because the police officer wasn't wearing a high visibility reflective vest.
To get a definitive answer, we touched base with the Victoria Police to see what the ruling is in your state.
Victoria Police senior media officer, Ben Radisich, told CarAdvice:
"Members must wear a high visibility vest when performing a role where the primary function is road policing duties or when on roads in close proximity to moving vehicles. Members will not be required to wear a high visibility vest:
• where in the assessment of the member, wearing the vest represents a serious risk to health and safety (such as responding to an armed offender or siege situation); or
• if authorised by a supervisor on a specific occasion, for specific duties or planned operations.
If members assess that wearing the high visibility vest on roads represents a serious risk to health and safety they must be able to justify such a decision, if required to do so."
So there you have it, Trent. Generally speaking, police officers must wear high visibility reflective vests when performing duties outside of their vehicles.
But, that doesn't mean it's okay to break the law and use technicalities to get around infringement notices.