On September 26, new rules were introduced in relation to the passing of emergency vehicles, tow trucks and breakdown assistance vehicles displaying flashing lights.
This means that you are required to slow down when passing them. The rule was created to improve the safety of vulnerable roadside workers such as police, ambos and tow truck operators.
If you want to know where to find the legislation surrounding this new law, you can find it in the Road Rules 2014-Regulation 78-1. Please note that this rule is an additional NSW rule. There is no corresponding rule in the Australian Road Rules
NSW rule: Approaching or passing stationary emergency response vehicles.
For all the sections of this rule please get on the google and read the Regulation however I will attempt to inform you what the regulation means in a language we can all understand.
An emergency response vehicle is basically as follows: (See Regulation for further info on vehicles)
A police car, ambulance, fire truck, State Emergency Service vehicle, the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association, or a tow truck or a motor breakdown service vehicle.
So, when you are driving along down the road doing the speed limit whilst listening to Barbara Streisand on the iPod and you see the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle, remember that you must give way to any person that is on foot in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle.
First, put Barbara on pause and slow down. If the speed limit on the road is 80kmh or less, then slow down to no more than 40kmh whilst you pass the stationary emergency vehicle and any persons nearby.
If you are on a road with a posted speed limit exceeding 80kmh you must pass the stationary emergency vehicle at a reasonable speed having regard to the road conditions at the time.
You must ensure that there is sufficient distance between your car and the stationary emergency response vehicle to allow you to safely avoid a collision with a person in the immediate vicinity of the emergency response vehicle.
If you are on a multi-lane road such as the Hume Highway you must move across to the next lane only if it is safe to do so.
Once you have gone past the stationary emergency vehicle, you should only increase your speed if you are far enough away from the scene to avoid causing a danger to any person in the immediate vicinity of the emergency vehicle.
The only time that you do not have to slow down for stationary emergency vehicles is when the road is divided by a median strip and the emergency vehicle is on the other side of the road past the median strip
The road rules 2014 defines a median strip as a "dividing strip designed or developed to separate vehicles travelling in opposite directions".
A $457 fine and 3 demerit points applies if you do not comply. A maximum court penalty of $2,200 will also apply.
As always, in case of emergency, call (000).
Non Emergencies contact Police Link on 131444 or your local Police.
To provide anonymous information call crime stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Domestic and Family Violence Info visit www.police.nsw.gov.au.
Shoalhaven Domestic Violence Officers. 44219666 or 44219665.
Don't forget. Cops are tops.