From next month, motorists will have to slow down to 40km/h when passing emergency services on the roadside.
(min cost $8)
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Under the rule, motorists will give way to any person on foot in the immediate area of the emergency vehicle.
The aim of the rule is to give all emergency workers extra protection, and confidence that they can go to work and at the end of their shift, get home safely to their families.
Drivers driving in both directions on undivided roads are impacted by the new rule, and face a $448 fine and three demerit points if they don't comply.
The rule has faced community backlash however, with some drivers concerned slowing down will increase rick of accidents, and others labeling it unnecessary.
But Fire and Rescue NSW Nowra Captain John Dun said the new law was a long time coming.
“We have had so many near misses where people just drive past us at full speed with no regard,” he said.
“We just want a safe workplace and return home safe to our families after our shift like most other people have.”
Captain Dun said slowing down when emergency personnel were working roadside would improve not only safety, but peace-of-mind for emergency service personnel.
“I’ve been a firefighter for 36 years, and in my experience, far too many people take very little care when we are trying to extinguish a fire or rescue someone” he said.
“People run over our equipment and at times they’ve nearly hit members of our crew.
“We often don’t have the luxury of picking a location for our workplace but we deserve the right of being safe.”
Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia have a similar rules in place and Captain Dun said he was pleased NSW was finally following suit.
“We work in a time critical environment and we often don’t have time to set up large scale traffic diversions and controls,” he said.
“This new rule will mean that when working on or near a roadway we can worry less about other traffic and more about the job we are doing.”
The NSW Government will monitor the safety and traffic impacts of the rule over a 12-month trial period in consultation with NSW Police, emergency service organisations and other stakeholders. The trial will begin on September 1.
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