New regulation which aims to ensure safety of emergency responders to take effect soon

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Photo: TBIT, Pixabay

Drivers in the ACT are now required to slow down to 40km/h when passing a roadside emergency vehicle with flashing red or blue lights under reduced speed limits starting Saturday, 14 April 2018.

The new regulation, which aims to improve safety for emergency responders, was announced by Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mick Gentleman and Minister for Road Safety Shane Rattenbury.

“Our emergency services are often required to work on or near the road, protecting the community when we are most vulnerable,” said Mr. Gentleman.

“For an emergency services worker, this is their workspace and they have a right to feel safe in their working environment.

“It’s 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.”

Mr. Rattenbury said this new regulation would make sure that emergency workers are protected by the ACT’s road transport regulations.

“Incidents on our roads place first responders at a high risk of being struck by passing vehicles or debris,” he said.

“It’s important for all road users to share the road with emergency service workers in a way that allows them to do their job safely.

“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.

“This 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.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to remind motorists now to ‘rubber neck’ around areas where emergency services are working as this only increases the danger in these environments.”

In circumstances where an emergency vehicle is stationary or moving slowly on a road displaying flashing red or blue lights, a driver must approach the emergency vehicle at a speed at which a 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.

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.

An infringement notice penalty of $257 for the offence and two demerit points will be implemented, which is consistent with the penalty for other offences where a vulnerable road user is put at risk.

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