$464 fine faces any driver who fails to do this on the roads

·3-min read

Whenever you see stationary flashing lights hovering in the distance, you know that there is a major hazard ahead whether it is an accident, broken down vehicle, or a fire.

While most drivers acknowledge this as a time to slow down as they approach, some drivers pay no attention to the hazard putting many people potentially at risk.

Therefore, some states have implemented new rules to protect emergency workers attending to a hazard and fine anybody not driving safely past them. So just how much could breaking this rule cost you?

NSW Ambulance stopped on road. Source: Getty Images
Drivers must slow for stationary emergency vehicles in both NSW & Victoria. Source: Getty Images

Protecting the frontline

Knowing the added dangers of major roadside hazards, some states have laid down new laws protecting emergency workers trying to fix the issue.

In both News South Wales and Victoria, drivers now must drive no more than 40km/h an hour when passing stationary emergency vehicles anywhere that has a speed limit of 80km/h or below.

These laws are applied to any vehicle that has red and blue or orange flashing lights including important services such as:

  • Police cars

  • Fire Engines

  • Ambulances

  • Active tow trucks

The rules differ in faster speed limits as drivers aren’t restricted to an exact speed. As long as they slow down to a reasonable speed as they pass an emergency vehicle, then they won’t be deemed putting anyone at risk.

Unlike some other laws, drivers are fine to stay in their current lane as they pass the stationary vehicle provided the workers and hazards aren’t obstructing their path.

Fire engine on the road. Source: Getty Images
Drivers in NSW and Victoria must drop to 40km/h passing stationary emergency vehicles. Source: Getty Images

Bigger states leading the charge

So far, it has only been NSW and Victoria that have introduced these laws to protect emergency workers but the penalties are severe if you do get caught.

Drivers in NSW need to be particularly aware as authorities can issue offenders with a fine of $464 as well as three demerit points if they are caught breaking the new rule.

Victorian drivers could be charged with one penalty unit ($181) if they are caught but contested penalties could see the amount increased to five penalty units ($905) should it go to court.

It is only Australia’s two most populous states that have embraced this rule so far with everywhere else in the country yet to adopt these changes into their laws.

However, interfering with the emergency services when they are on the road is a risky game to play as anyone caught doing this could be given staggering fees if they are caught in the act.

No matter where you go in Australia, every state will hit you with three demerit points if you get caught doing this and there are some hefty fines if you do interfere with the emergency services as they zoom past.

Paramedics rescuing car accident victim. Source: Getty Images
It's three demerit points and $464 fine for offending drivers in NSW. Source: Getty Images

For example, drivers in South Australia could be given a fine of $467 if they impede emergency vehicles while it’s a $321 fine for anyone trying the same act in Queensland.

Remember, emergency services are often performing essential acts with lives in the balance when they are attending to major incidents on the roads.

Therefore, it’s always smart to slow down when passing them so that they can do their jobs safely regardless of whether it’s actually a written law or not.

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