Motorists who do not follow the new speed limits to protect emergency service workers, will lose three demerit points and be fined $457.
From 26 September 2019, when passing stationary emergency vehicles with flashing blue or red lights, motorists will:
- no longer need to slow down to 40km/h on roads with speed limits of 90km/h or over
- be required to slow down to 40km/h on roads with speed limits of 80km/h or under.
The rule will be expanded to include tow trucks and breakdown assistance vehicles which are displaying yellow flashing lights while stopped on the road.
On roads with speed limits of 90km/h or over motorists will need to:
- slow to a speed which is safe and reasonable for the circumstances
- give enough space between their vehicle and the breakdown assistance or emergency vehicle and workers
- change lanes to keep the lane next to the vehicle free if it is safe to do so, on multi-lane roads.
The rule is also being called ‘Sarah’s Rule’ in memory of Sarah Frazer and the ongoing work of the Safer Australian Roads and Highways(external link) (SARAH) Group to improve safety conditions for roadside workers, as well as other road users.
Sarah Frazer tragically lost her life in 2012 when she was struck on the roadside after her car broke down on the Hume Highway. The tow truck driver who had come to her assistance also lost his life.
Minister for Regional Roads Paul Toole said the changes are about slowing down safely.
“If you are driving on roads 90km/h or over you will need to consider how close you are to the stationary vehicle and slow to a safer speed and give as much space to the vehicle as you can,” Mr Toole said.