Motorists in New South Wales will need to adhere to a new road rule that officially came into effect on Thursday.
Even though you may not even be aware of it, you will be hit with a massive $448 fine and three demerit points for violating the new law.
The road rules means drivers are required to slow down to a speed of 40km/h when passing a stationary police vehicle or emergency vehicles with flashing red and blue lights. It will also apply to passing tow truck operators on the side of the road.
This rule is being changed to improve the safety of vulnerable roadside workers including tow truck operators and breakdown assistance workers, in addition to emergency service workers, Transport for NSW says.
The NSW government first announced a trial of the new rule last year.
Last week it announced amendments to the law, so it only applies on roads where the speed limit is 80km/h or less.
The change comes after driver feedback regarding the new measure “was generally negative” Transport for NSW said, with some drivers reporting that it increased the level of danger in certain circumstances.
“We’ve monitored the impact of the rule over the past year and taken on board feedback from the public and stakeholders about the trial. We’re now implementing changes to make the rule safer for everyone,” Transport Minister Andrew Constance said.
He also noted that 926 infringements were issued during the 12-month trial for motorists breaching the rule.
If on a road where the speed limit is 90km/h or higher, motorists must slow down to a speed “reasonable for the circumstances”.
The law also requires motorists to provide sufficient space between their vehicles and the vehicle displaying flashing lights, or tow trucks on the side of the road.
Motorists travelling on a multi-lane road must change lanes to keep the lane next to the stationary vehicle vacant if it is safe to do so.
“Tow truck and breakdown assistance workers face similar risks on the road to emergency service workers. A commitment was made to consider the application of the rule to other at-risk workers over the 12-month trial period,” Transport for NSW said.
“Now that the rule is being made safer in higher speed environments, it is appropriate to extend the rule and enhance safety for these at-risk workers.”
Motorists in WA, Victoria and Queensland must pass stationary emergency vehicles at 40km/h in all zones while in SA drivers must drop to 25km/h.
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