Qld announces new road rules to better protect emergency workers


Thursday, 25 August, 2022

Qld announces new road rules to better protect emergency workers

The Queensland Government has announced plans to introduce new road rules that will require motorists to move over and slow down to keep emergency workers safe. Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the rules are aimed at keeping first responders safe on the roadside.

“Our emergency service and first responders do an incredible job, and they play a critical role in roadside incidents. The rule is simple — if you see flashing lights at the roadside, move over and slow down. We know many people already do it, but this change makes it clear that you must do it to keep the people helping in an incident safe from harm,” Bailey said.

The new rule applies to ambulances, police cars, fire trucks, and transport enforcement vehicles, as well as breakdown assistance providers such as RACQ, tow trucks and assistance workers. Bailey said that an education program will come into effect from 16 September 2022, to make sure people are aware of the changes.

“It is no accident that we are making this announcement during Queensland Road Safety Week. Every day, every Queensland road user has a role to play in keeping themselves and each other safe — and that includes keeping our emergency response workers safe as they care for others. During Queensland Road Safety Week, we’re reminding Queenslanders that their behaviour on the road has an impact and that road safety starts with all of us,” Bailey said.

Queensland Road Safety Week is celebrated from 22 to 26 August, in partnership with Queensland Police Service. Bailey thanked the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) for their role in creating awareness of the need for this rule and for working alongside the Queensland Government to advocate for this change. RACQ Group Executive (Assistance) Glenn Toms said the Club congratulated the Queensland Government on the vital road safety rule.

“We have been advocating for this change since 2017, with 90% of our members in favour of making this lifesaving road rule a reality, so we are incredibly pleased the government is taking action. Emergency responders, including our roadside crews, put their lives on the line each and every day by working in high-risk and often high-speed environments to rescue stranded motorists, but one wrong move by a passing driver could end in tragedy,” Toms said.

Toms said that the new rule will require Queenslanders to change the way they drive around roadside incidents to give responders a safe space to do their job, so they can continue to help people and ensure everyone gets home safely.

Transurban Queensland Group Executive Sue Johnson also welcomed the announcement and said everyone has a responsibility to protect first responders.

“Our incident response crews are working day and night to help keep motorists safe. Finding yourself on a busy motorway can be a frightening experience, but every day our trained professionals are ready to lend a hand within minutes. Slowing down when you see flashing lights is a really simple thing every motorist can do to help protect our first responders, so they can get home safely to their loved ones,” Johnson said.

The penalty for not moving over and slowing down will be $432 and three demerit points — enforceable by the Queensland Police Service.

Image credit: iStock.com/Wendy Townrow

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