Keeping emergency workers safe on our roads

The Government is introducing new road rules to protect emergency workers on our roads.

From July 1 2017, drivers must safely slow to 40km/h when passing a stationary or slow-moving emergency vehicle that is responding to an emergency with flashing lights or a siren sounding.

After passing the vehicle, drivers should not increase speed again until reaching a safe distance from the scene, so that emergency workers can do their job without fear of being hit by passing traffic.

A number of emergency workers have been killed and injured on Victorian roads after being struck by passing vehicles or debris.

A recent survey also found that almost one in five emergency service workers said they’d had four or more ‘near misses’ while stopped on the roadside over the past three years.

These incidents are considered commonplace, but are often not recorded.

The new rule will apply to Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, Metropolitan Fire Brigade, County Fire Authority and State Emergency Service vehicles.

It also applies to VicRoads Transport Safety Service vehicles with magenta flashing lights.

Current road rules do not require drivers to reduce speed or take other action when passing a stationary emergency or enforcement vehicle.

The rule is consistent with existing 40 km/h speed limit requirements in other areas where vulnerable road users are present, including roadwork sites and school zones.

The changes are the result of extensive consultation with Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Country Fire Authority, WorkSafe, Emergency Management Victoria, Department of Justice and Regulation, the Transport Accident Commission and RACV.

The fine for an infringement of the new road rule is $277 and the maximum court penalty is $793. No demerit points apply.

Source: Vic Government