New NSW road rule could cost you $448
Slow down when you see flashing blue or red lights or be prepared to pay.
There's a new road rule in NSW as of 1 September 2018 that you need to know or be prepared to pay: drivers must slow down to 40 km/h when passing stationary emergency vehicles with flashing blue or red lights or run the risk of being fined $448 and losing three demerit points.
The new rule, which started at the beginning of September, will remain in place for a trial period of 12 months.
If you spot a parked emergency vehicle, you must slow to 40 km/h. The rule applies to vehicles travelling in all directions with the only exception being a road that has a median strip dividing lanes of traffic. If the emergency workers or vehicle are located on the median strip, the rule again applies to both sides.
This Transport for NSW video explains the amendments:
The regulation also extends to cover any person on foot in the vicinity of the emergency response vehicle. This could include:
- Police officers
- Ambulance officers
- State emergency service workers
- Rescue volunteers
- Other pedestrians, witnesses and victims
Once the road user has travelled safely past the incident, they may then increase their speed. The driver will need to judge the appropriate distance based on current conditions, as it will differ for a group of firefighters tackling a roadside fire compared with a police car parked behind a stopped vehicle.
Why is NSW trialling this new law?
“We want to make sure the people protecting us on our road network don’t become casualties while doing their jobs,” said executive director of the Centre of Road Safety Bernard Carlon.
According to Safe Work Australia, the most common cause of injury or death while on duty for first responders is vehicle collisions.
Fines for failing to slow down
Failing to comply with the “slow down to 40” rule will land vehicle-owners with a $448 fine and three demerit points on their licence. The maximum penalty a court can give is $2,200.
Why is slow down to 40 only a 12 months trial?
After a year, the NSW government and Transport for NSW will discuss the outcome of the trial period. They aim to determine the effects of the rule change on traffic and safety. They will also discuss any unintended consequences and factor in similar rule alterations from other states and territories.
Don't let demerit points jack up the cost of your car insurance
It's important to stay on top of these changing laws and sometimes obscure road rules, as your driving record directly impacts how much you'll pay for car insurance. Car insurers see drivers who've lost a bunch of points as a higher risk than drivers with a clean record and will charge them more accordingly.