New South Wales motorists will need to slow to 40km/h as they pass emergency services on the side of the road, as part of a road rule trial kicking off on September 1.
Drivers moving in both directions on undivided roads are impacted by the rule, and face a $448 fine and three demerit points if they don't comply. Only once they're a 'safe distance' past the emergency vehicles can motorists accelerate back to the speed limit.
The new rule also forces road users to give way to anyone on foot in the 'immediate area' of the emergency. The new rules will be trialled for 12 months, before the NSW Government consults with police, emergency services and other relevant stakeholders.
“The new road rule will provide extra protection for all emergency workers and volunteers who respond to crashes and other incidents on our roads,” said Bernard Carlon, NSW centre for road safety executive director.
“When you see the blue or red flashing lights on an emergency vehicle stopped on the road, safely reduce your speed so that you are not exceeding 40km/h when you pass. Keep to 40km/h until you’ve safely passed all people and emergency vehicles."
“We want to ensure that people protecting us on our road network don’t become casualties while doing their jobs. This rule will give extra protection and confidence that at the end of a shift they can go home safely to families and friends,” Carlon added.
Victoria and Western Australia already force drivers to drop to 40km/h when passing emergency services, while South Australian motorists are forced to crawl past flashing red-and-blue lights at just 25km/h.
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