Drivers in the ACT are told to slow down to 40km/hour when passing emergency services vehicles on the side of the road from this Saturday (14 April).
Drivers must slow down to 40km/hour when driving past ambulances, police and other emergency vehicles with red or blue flashing lights on the side of the road according to a new law announced on Monday (9 April).
The penalty is two demerit points and a fine of $257, the same as penalties involving other vulnerable road users.
The requirement to slow down does not apply where the emergency vehicle is parked on the other side of a road divided by a median strip.
Minister for Road Safety Shane Rattenbury and Police and Emergency Services Minister Mick Gentleman announced the new law and they believe the new regulation will improve safety for emergency responders.
“Our emergency services are often required to work on or near the road, protecting the community when we are most vulnerable,” Mr Gentleman said.
“For an emergency services worker, this is their workspace and they have a right to feel safe in their working environment.”
“It’s a simple message – when you see a stationary or slow-moving vehicle with flashing lights ahead, slow to 40km/h to protect those who protect you.”
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The new law is consistent with existing speed restrictions in place in other areas where vulnerable road users are commonly found, such as school zones, road works, and town centres.
The new law applies where a driver approaches an emergency vehicle that is stationary or moving slowly on a road displaying flashing red or blue lights.
In those circumstances the driver must:
- Approach the emergency vehicle at a speed at which the driver can, if necessary, stop safely before reaching the vehicle;
- Give way to emergency workers on foot near the emergency vehicle;
- Pass the emergency vehicle at no more than 40km/h, or if a lesser speed limit applies, no more than the speed limit; and
- Continue to drive at a speed at which the driver can, if necessary, stop safely, until the driver is a sufficient distance past the emergency vehicle to not pose a risk to any emergency worker on foot.
Mr Rattenbury reminded motorists not to ‘rubberneck’ around areas where emergency services are working as this “only increases the danger in these environments”.
Mr Rattenbury said the vehicles slowing down around liable road users could prevent severe injuries.
“The speed at which a vehicle is travelling when it hits a vulnerable road user determines the severity of the injury and the chances of survival,” he said.
More information is available on the ACT Policing website.