A NEW road rule is coming in to effect from September 1 in New South Wales.
The new law is designed to protect emergency service workers when they are stopped on the side of the road.
Drivers must slow to 40km/h when passing stationary emergency vehicles – which includes police cars, fire engines and ambulances – displaying red and blue flashing lights.
Ignore the new rule at your peril – the fine is $448 and the offence earns three demerit points.
The rule applies to motorists travelling in either direction unless the lanes are divided by a median strip.
“The new road rule will provide extra protection for all emergency workers and volunteers who respond to crashes and other incidents on our roads,” says Bernard Carlon, head of the NSW Centre for Road Safety.
“When you see the blue or red flashing lights on an emergency vehicle stopped on the road, safely reduce your speed so that you are not exceeding 40km/h when you pass.
“Keep to 40km/h until you’ve safely passed all people and emergency vehicles.
“We want to ensure that people protecting us on our road network don’t become casualties while doing their jobs. This rule will give extra protection and confidence that at the end of a shift they can go home safely to families and friends.”
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The new road rule will be trialled for 12 months before all authorities concerned decide whether to make the law permanent.
Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia have a similar rules in place – SA requires motorists to slow to 25km/h. To date, Queensland has rejected calls for a similar road rule.
NSW recently revised the controversial law requiring children over the age of 12 to ride bicycles on the road, raising the age of compliance to 16.