Motorists forced to reduce speed to 40 km/h at car crashes

PROTECT THE PROTECTORS: Motorists on both side of the road will be required to reduce their speed to 40 kilometres per hour. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
PROTECT THE PROTECTORS: Motorists on both side of the road will be required to reduce their speed to 40 kilometres per hour. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Motorists will soon be required to slow down to 40 kilometres per hour around car crashes.

From September 1, motorists will have to slow down when they are passing a stationary emergency vehicle with its lights flashing. Motorists will also have to give way to anyone on foot within the emergency area.

Dubbo Regional Council road safety officer Jayne Bleechmore said the 40 kilometres per hour speed limit applied to vehicles going in both directions, unless the road was divided by a median strip.

“The new speed 40 km/h speed restriction will go a long way in protecting Police, Firefighters, Ambulance officers, State Emergency Service and rescue volunteers as they perform difficult and dangerous work for the community,” Ms Bleechmore said.

“This rule will improve the safety of emergency workers and the people whom they are helping.  The new rule will help emergency workers feel safer while working in vulnerable situations in the road environment.”

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Motorists can only increase their speed once they are past the emergency vehicles.

A $448 fine and three demerit points will apply for those who don’t comply with the new road rule.

Councillor Dayne Gumley was a strong supporter of the speed limit reduction.

“I know there are lots of people in the community thinking ‘why would you need a 40 kilometres per hour speed limit on the side of the road when there’s an emergency?’ when the common sense thing is to simply slow down, but before I worked in the safety of a courthouse and an office I was in uniform with NSW Police. I can tell you the number of times I responded to an incident of trauma on a roadway and myself or one of my colleagues was almost killed because of people simply travelling too quickly was numerous,” Cr Gumley said.

“They place themselves in danger because of the nature of their employment and the government should do everything it possibly can to farther protect them.”

The NSW government will monitor the safety and traffic impacts of the new rule across a 12-month trial period in consultation with NSW Police, emergency services and stakeholders.