Laws forcing New South Wales drivers to slow to 40km/h past emergency services will be made official on September 26, after the completion of a 12 month trial.
A total of 936 fines have been issued during the trial, designed to better protect emergency services working on the roadside. Drivers are forced to slow to 40km/h when they pass police, ambulance and fire services with their lights flashing – and face fines of $446 if they don't.
The details will change slightly when the law officially comes into force on September 26. Along with emergency services, drivers will need to slow to 40km/h when passing tow trucks and motorway recovery vehicles with their yellow lights flashing.
The expanded laws address criticism by the NRMA, which described the original trial as "short-sighted" and "ineffective" for only covering emergency services.
From September 26, drivers also won't need to slow to 40km/h on roads with speed limits of 90km/h or over. Instead, drivers will need to slow to a "safe and reasonable" speed, give "sufficient space" to those working on the roadside, and "change lanes to keep the lane next to the vehicle free if it is safe to do so".
"These changes are about slowing down safely," said NSW Minister for Rural Roads, Paul Toole.
“If you are driving on roads 90km/h or over you will need to consider how close you are to the stationary vehicle and slow to a safer speed and give as much space to the vehicle as you can.”
According to research from the New South Wales roads and maritime service, 85 per cent of crashes involved roadside emergency services happened in 80km/h speed zones or below.
Police have committed to stopping in more visible locations, and new warning signs will be deployed by emergency services.
Victoria and South Australia both have similar laws to those trialled in New South Wales in place already, forcing drivers to drop to 40km/h and 25km/h respectively past emergency services on the roadside. They don't, however, include tow trucks and motorway recovery vehicles.