If you’ve lived or driven in NSW or QLD during the last 12 months, you might be familiar with a trial that Transport NSW and the NSW Police have been running. You might think of it as the ‘40km/h speed limit while driving past stationary emergency vehicles with their lights flashing’, but that’s not exactly catchy. Transport NSW prefers the title Slow Down, Move Over and Give Space.
While the rule is set to be rolled out NSW-wide (bringing the state into line with others such as WA, Vic, SA & the ACT), you can expect some small changes to the rule itself and the way in which it will be enforced in future.
To their credit, Transport NSW has taken the time to properly review the data collected from the past year, and they’ve done it with a little help from the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q). CARRS-Q has been in charge of evaluating the information fed through to them, breaking down incident reports and crash data in order to get a clear picture of the efficacy of the rule in protecting emergency workers.
To date, the findings have been somewhat mixed, with some saying the speed limit has created a safer work environment for them while on the roadside, while others have said that vehicles slowing to 40km/h in certain situations create a set of new safety concerns. In light of that fact, the rule will be rolled out as a contextual rule and not a blanket speed restriction.
So what's the new law?
Where the speed limit is below 80km/h, cars will still be expected to slow down to 40km/h when passing emergency vehicles with their lights flashing, however where the speed limit is above 90km/h, cars will be expected to slow ‘to a speed that is reasonable for the circumstances’. No word yet on how the latter will be enforced with no objective speed measurements, but the intent of the new rule is to ensure that police, ambulance, firefighters and any other emergency personnel are safe while conducting their work.
The rule is set to take effect on September 26th 2019, meaning you’ll need to get acquainted with the new law before the weekend if you want to make sure you abide by it. Find out more by heading to the FAQ section on the Transport NSW site, and as always take care out there.