When you hear sirens coming in your direction, it is almost second nature to move over to the side of the road and let emergency vehicles pass as they head to their destination.
However, you will come across a few drivers now and again who refuse to do this and potentially put multiple lives at risk by failing to get out of the way of the rescue services.
Thankfully, there are strict rules in place to punish anyone who is caught doing this ignorant act with heavy penalties ready to be dished out to offenders. So just how much could they be fined?
Life or death situation
No matter if it’s a police, fire or medical vehicle, emergency services are given special exemptions to allow them to reach a critical situation in the shortest time possible.
It’s why anyone who fails to move out of their way or even physically obstruct them will find themselves being deemed to have broken the law.
This comes thanks to Rule 78 of the Australian Road Rules which states that drivers must move out of the way of oncoming emergency vehicles and not impede them on the roads.
For vehicles to move out of the way, the emergency vehicles must have their lights and sirens active to signal that they are attending to a current emergency.
It won’t come as much surprise then that this is a rule that can be found universally across all Australian states.
Punishing oblivious behaviour
Authorities take a zero tolerance approach to anyone whose actions could impede emergency workers from getting to an accident or a crime scene quickly.
That’s why anyone not paying attention to the encroaching blaring sirens is likely to find themselves getting hit with big fines and multiple demerit points if they aren’t careful. Some of the ensuing penalties include:
NSW: Drivers in NSW who don’t move out of the way of emergency vehicles will find themselves getting slapped with a $464 fine as well as receiving three demerit points.
VIC: If you fail to move out of the way for an emergency vehicle on Victorian roads, drivers will find themselves receiving a fine of $318 as well as getting three demerit points added to their licence.
QLD: In Queensland, anyone who impedes an active emergency vehicle will be issued with a fine of $321 as well as being awarded three demerit points to their licence.
SA: The harshest penalties for this action can be found in South Australia where failing to give way to an emergency vehicle will result in a massive $559 fine and three points added to the driver’s licence.
WA: Should you fail to move out of the way of emergency services in Western Australia, the authorities will issue you a fine of $300 and dish out three demerit points to mull over.
TAS: Anyone in Tasmania who is thought to be impeding active emergency vehicles on the road will be given three demerit points as well as a fine of $216.
ACT: In Canberra, anyone found not moving out of the way of emergency services on the roads will earn themselves a fine of $345 as well as three demerit points to their licence.
Every second counts for vehicles attending a direct emergency, so the time saved by drivers moving out of the way of emergency services could be the very thing that saves someone’s life.
That is why doing such a simple action is not only a designated road rule across Australia but an act that is considered common courtesy by most drivers on the road regardless of their experience.
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