Changes will be made to the road rules following the completion of a trial requiring drivers to slow down to 40km/h when passing stationary emergency vehicles, including NSW SES vehicles with flashing blue or red lights.
From September 26:
- Drivers will no longer need to slow down to 40km/h on roads with speed limits of 90km/h or over.
- Drivers will continue to 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.
These changes include the speed drivers need to slow down to in certain circumstances to avoid unsafe practices like hard braking.
On roads with speed limits of 90km/h or over drivers will need to:
- Slow to a speed which is safe and reasonable for the circumstances;
- Give sufficient space between their vehicle and the breakdown assistance or emergency vehicle and workers.
- On multi-lane roads, drivers must change lanes to keep the lane next to the vehicle free if it is safe to do so.
Why is the rule being changed?
This rule is being changed to improve the safety of emergency workers, tow truck operators and breakdown assistance providers working on the road, as well as the people they are helping, particularly on higher speed roads where the time and distance required to reduce speed to 40km/h is the greatest.
What types of vehicles are covered by the rule?
Drivers must obey the rule when passing the following vehicles when stationary and displaying flashing blue or red lights:
- NSW Police Force vehicles
- Ambulance Service of NSW vehicles
- Fire & Rescue NSW vehicles
- State Emergency Service vehicles
- Rural Fire Service vehicles
- Volunteer Rescue Association vehicles
- Transport Emergency Patrol vehicles
- RMS and Traffic Management Centre (TMC) Commander vehicles
Drivers must also obey the rule when passing the following vehicles when stationary and displaying flashing yellow lights:
- Tow Trucks
- Breakdown assistance vehicles (such as the NRMA)