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Call to Change Controversial 40km/h Rule Around Emergency Vehicles

Call to Change Controversial 40km/h Rule Around Emergency Vehicles

Red And Blue Could Mean A Fine For You – The 40km/h Speed Limit When Passing Emergency Service Vehicles.

A little-known road rule is causing big controversy in New South Wales, facing criticism from even the Police Association and NRMA.

The rule, which came into force on 1 September last year, requires a driver to slow to 40 kilometres per hour when passing a stationary emergency vehicle that is displaying a flashing blue or red light.

The rule was introduced in response to a tragic incident where two police officers who were setting up an RBT were hit by a speeding driver. While no one would argue against protecting the safety of our emergency workers, many have levelled criticism at the rule’s potential to create dangerous situations, particularly where a driver needs to slam their brakes and plummet from 110kph to 40kph within a matter of seconds. The irony of it can’t be lost.

And not only is the rule increasing danger rather than reducing it, it is also been called out as a “speed trap”. The author took a call from a woman who, in September last year, was fined for failing to slow to 40kph when passing a police car on Camden Valley Way. The problem though, was that the police car was pulled into the start of a left-turn lane, hidden behind shrubs and therefore not visible until she was just a few metres in front. What was visible however, was the Highway Patrol car which was trapping motorists, who, though doing well under the posted limit, exceeded 40kph when passing the hidden police car. Despite the caller being clocked at only 67kph in what was ordinarily an 80kph zone, and even though she insisted that it was unsafe to slow to 40kph when the police car became visible, she was slapped with a $448 fine and 3 demerit points.

Road safety must be a top priority for the NSW Government including for our emergency workers, but a better approach is needed. The suggestion of the Police Association that the speed be reasonable, rather than something prescribed and inflexible, would go a long way to both improving safety and avoiding unfair punishment. Fortunately, the rule was introduced on a 12 month trial basis and we hope the community’s concerns are heard by the time it’s due for review.

Image Credit – Lukasz Olszowiak ©

Written by Aurhett Barrie on February 19, 2019

Aurhett is the first point of legal contact for clients of Armstrong Legal. He receives every new client with care, understanding and an open mind. He is dedicated to getting to the real issues involved in your matter before matching you with the best solicitor from our team of experienced lawyers. View Aurhett's profile

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