As of 1 September 2018 drivers in NSW will be required to slow down to 40km per hour when passing emergency vehicles that are stopped on the side of the road and displaying blue and red flashing lights.
Any motorist caught ignoring this rule will be slammed with a $448 fine and the loss of three demerit points.
The new rule applies to drivers travelling in both directions of the stationary emergency vehicle but does have one exception – that drivers are permitted to remain at the ordinary speed limit when approaching the emergency vehicle if the road is separated by a median strip.
The new rule is designed to give emergency workers and volunteers added protection from the dangers of responding to traffic accidents.
National Roads and Motorists’ Association (NRMA) has criticised the introduction of the road rule saying that it is “short sighted” and “half-baked” and “does nothing to protect the lives of the people it was meant to protect to begin with”. NRMA agreed that emergency workers and volunteers deserve protection at work, however they are more focused on taking action to prevent the accidents from occurring in the first place.
Similar rules have been trialled in South Australia, where vehicles are required to slow down to 25km/hr when passing emergency vehicles on the side of the road.
The NSW Government will trial this new rule for a 12 month period and will then determine whether any amendments can be made to improve its practicality.
If you require any information about this new road rule, or any other matter relating to driving regulations, please contact Kydon Segal Lawyers on (02) 9344 2000.