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New law enforces 40km/hour around emergency vehicles on side of the road

By Lachlan Roberts 10 April 2018 21

The penalty is two demerit points and a fine of $257, the same as penalties involving other vulnerable road users. File Photo.

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.”

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.


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21 Responses to
New law enforces 40km/hour around emergency vehicles on side of the road
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gooterz 11:37 pm 17 Apr 18

Going to cause more accidents.
People are going to be paying more attention to the flashing lights than the car infront of them which is slamming on the breaks.
No public information or warning period. Everyone has their own interpretation.
Perhaps we should all travel at 5km/h as a protest, passive aggressive behaviour always follows crazy strict rules.

It used to be that you could get done going to slow.

Gabrielle Novak 8:18 am 14 Apr 18

Max Thomas so if I’m doing 100 on the parkway, I have to slow down to 40 for 4 seconds of travel? Have I misunderstood that? Whattheheck man, that sounds like road rage and accidents :/

Marko Lehikoinen 6:19 am 14 Apr 18

Yup, rear enders in 80 - 110 zones are going to cause a cascade effect and one small incident will become a freeway pileup. This will be especially true for highways with semis who can't possibly slow down fast enough to prevent rear ending a car who wants to avoid a small fine. I wonder if they have done any simulations or projections of how this will work on roads like Sydney's tollways?

Lindsey Wells 7:33 pm 13 Apr 18

This will cause more accidents than it will stop - lost count of how many times I have come around a corner in an 80 or 100 zone and a cop car has someone pulled up, they are taking up half the lane with their car - now I have to throw the anchor out and get down to 40!!! How many rear enders are we going to see from this?! Dumb idea!

123Bobb123 5:40 pm 12 Apr 18

To Pat Murray and his mates who always scream revenue raising, look at it as an opportunity to actually do the right thing and stay within the law. The only possible way for it to be a revenue raiser is if anyone actually breaks the law. How that is a good thing I will never know so easy answer for you mate.

Paul Irving 6:45 pm 11 Apr 18

Rather they enforced speed limits around road works.

Pat Murray 5:52 pm 11 Apr 18

Another opportunity for revenue raising.

Rollersk8r 11:06 am 11 Apr 18

More genius from the Minister for More Rules. Another rule that nobody’s going to know about and will never be enforced (without an elaborate set-up of police racing to emergency scenes to check speed).

Tracy Gorman 10:26 am 11 Apr 18

I have no problem with this, except I’m wondering how they will enforce it.. if they’re pulled over to book someone ( police ), pulled over to help someone ( ambos and firies).. how are they going to book someone going past at normal speed? They aren’t going to drop everything to pursue a ticket

Yuri Shukost 2:51 am 11 Apr 18

As if people need a law to slow down and rubber neck.

bigred 10:26 pm 10 Apr 18

I will be very interested to see if they actually enforce this one seeing it is designed to protect them, as opposed to the other 40km/h zones which are designed to protect normal citizens

Ceit Woodward 7:49 pm 10 Apr 18

They'd have fun just turning on their lights and booking the first person that doesn't slow down...

olfella 7:39 pm 10 Apr 18

Had a quick look around the police link but cannot find any reference to this. So, if the police is at the side of the road (3 lanes?) with their vehicle blocking half a lane. we still must slow from 100 speed limit to 40? Have I got that right?

George Cupac 7:33 pm 10 Apr 18

Does it still count when the Cop is giving out a pointless speeding (revenue) ticket ???

Sarelle Woodward 7:13 pm 10 Apr 18

So you are driving on a three lane freeway with a speed limit of 110. The police car has slowed down (with lights on) to pull behind the car he has just caught speeding. For that period of time before he turns off his lights, all three lanes have to slow to 40 km/hr. Then the lights are turned off, but the following cars didn't see the lights on, and are still doing 110. Recipe for disaster.

    Blake Swadling 7:15 pm 10 Apr 18

    the police leave the lights on the whole time they are responding ... may the force be with you

    Sarelle Woodward 7:16 pm 10 Apr 18

    Haha. I thought they turned them off when they had stopped. What about the unmarked cars with the lights only in the front? Or do they have them in the back of the vehicle as well?

    Sarelle Woodward 7:18 pm 10 Apr 18

    But my example also applies to when s/he has turned them off before pulling out again. I think the law would be better to say reduce to a safe speed. Although that is subjective, it means that you don't have to suddenly reduce your speed by 70 km without warning. At least roadworks give you warning.

Blake Swadling 7:13 pm 10 Apr 18

yeah, this is gonna be fun when driving in front of a b double .... and yes, i worked with emergency services, yes speed was an issue and no, this isn't gonna fix it. Im looking forward to an increase in secondary rear end accidents around these locations when ppl dont see the slow traffic in front of them

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