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NSW introduces 40km/h limit around emergency vehicles

A one year trial will begin tomorrow that requires all drivers to slow down to 40km/h when passing emergency service vehicles with red and blue flashing lights. The new speed limit will apply on all roads when police, ambulance, fire, SES or rescue vehicles are stopped and have their red or blue lights flashing. A peculiar exclusion to the new laws are RMS vehicles or tow trucks whose lights are flashing.

The new rule applies not only to motorist driving in the direction that the emergency vehicles are stopped, but it also includes vehicles travelling in the opposite direction if the road is not divided by a median strip. The video below gives a succinct explanation of how the new rule applies.



Anyone travelling in excess of 40km/h will be subject to a fine of $448 as well as three demerit points. We will have to wait and see whether this penalty applies irrespective of the speed that a vehicle exceeds the 40km/h. For example what will occur if a vehicle is caught passing an emergency service vehicle with red and blue flashing lights in excess of 45km/h. Will the drivers licence be suspended on the spot and incur the appropriate penalty of $2,435 and 6 demerit points?

An obvious concern for motorists is when an emergency vehicle is stopped on any of the major motorways in NSW. The majority of the motorways have a speed limit of either 100km/h or 110km/h, with the new laws in place a motorist will need to reduce their speed by either 60km/h or 70km/h. The real danger is for heavy vehicles because of their size and weight will struggle to reduce their speed so substantially in such a short period of time.

These new rules may create a danger to motorists particularly in the example above relating to heavy vehicles.

Image Credit – Lukasz Olszowiak ©

Written by John Sutton on August 31, 2018

John is the National Director of Criminal Law at Armstrong Legal. The experience John possesses, being a high quality mix of defence and prosecution skills, together with his team at Armstrong Legal, mean you can be certain of accurate, dependable and practical advice on how your matter can dealt with. View John's profile

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