Image: Ambulance Victoria
Drivers failing to safely slow down for emergency services vehicles will be hit with new fines to be introduced by the Victorian State Government.
From July 1, drivers who don’t slow to 40km/h when passing a stationary or slow-moving emergency vehicle with its emergency flashing lights or a siren sounding will land a maximum court penalty of $793.
The minimum fine for an infringement of the new road rule is $277, and no demerit points apply.
It comes as a number of emergency workers have been killed and injured on Victorian roads after being struck by passing vehicles or debris.
A recent survey also found that almost one in five emergency service workers said they’d had four or more “near misses” while stopped on the roadside over the past three years. These incidents are considered commonplace, but are often not recorded.
Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan said the Victorian State Government had "listened" to emergency services workers who felt in danger while doing their job.
“Most people already do the right thing and slow down when we see flashing lights ahead, but this new rule will make sure that everyone passes at a safe speed,” he said.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Jill Hennessy said the new laws would send "a simple message" to drivers.
“Our emergency workers have stressful and demanding jobs, protecting us when we are at our most vulnerable. We’re making these changes so they can do their job without fear of being injured or killed by a passing vehicle.”
“It’s a simple message – when you see flashing lights ahead slow to 40 to keep our emergency workers safe. It might mean you arrive at your destination a little later, but it could save a life.”
The new rule will apply to Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, Metropolitan Fire Brigade, County Fire Authority and State Emergency Service vehicles. It also applies to VicRoads Transport Safety Service vehicles with magenta flashing lights.
Current road rules do not require drivers to reduce speed or take other action when passing a stationary emergency or enforcement vehicle.
The rule is consistent with existing 40 km/h speed limit requirements in other areas where vulnerable road users are present, including roadwork sites and school zones.