Better road safety rules needed to protect emergency services

Wednesday, 07 March, 2018

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There are calls for the NSW Government to address road safety issues impacting emergency services.

The NSW Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA) is calling on Premier Gladys Berejiklian to urgently implement a new safety law that requires drivers to slow down to 40 km/hour when passing emergency services with flashing lights.

Western Australia has recently introduced a new 40 km law that is designed to protect emergency workers from harm.

“We saw a terrible accident in Leumeah last month that left two police officers severely injured. Every day, emergency workers across the state face huge risks working along the roadside,” said RFSA President Ken Middleton.

“We need urgent action to protect emergency workers.

“Western Australia announced they were introducing laws to protect emergency workers on 31 December 2017 and they came into effect on 2 March 2018, only a couple of months later.

“The message from the WA Government is clear and correct: we must look after those who look after us.”

The WA Slow Down, Move Over (SLOMO) laws see penalties of a $300 fine and the loss of three demerit points for drivers who don’t slow down to 40 km an hour when passing incident response vehicles under flashing lights.

“The RFSA has been campaigning for a new 40 kilometre per hour law for quite some time. I appreciate the fact that the Premier has listened to our concerns and set up a working group to look at the legislation,” said Middleton.

“However, I am extremely disappointed that a planned meeting of that working group, which was due to meet on Friday, 2 March, was postponed.

“This should be an extremely straightforward process — these laws protect emergency services, make our roads safer and are already in force across half of the country.

“Governments in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria have acted quickly to protect the protectors — and I’m urging the Premier to recognise the clear need to do the same here in New South Wales.”

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