Drivers will be urged to move over or slow down as part of an upcoming road rule change.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said road rules would be changed to keep first responders and emergency service workers safe.
“We all have a part to play in keeping people safe on our roads,” Mr Bailey said.
“That’s why we’re introducing a new ‘move over, slow down’ rule which means drivers will need to slow down or change lanes when passing a stationary vehicle with flashing lights.
“This includes ambulances, police cars, fire trucks, tow trucks and breakdown assistance vehicles to protect anyone working by the roadside from vehicles travelling at high speeds.”
Mr Bailey said the rule change would be implemented from later this year (2022).
“We need to help create a safer work environment for our first responders and emergency service workers,” he said.
“The likelihood of a serious injury or fatality increases significantly as vehicle speeds increase so we are aiming to reduce that risk as much as possible.
“We know many drivers practice this on Queensland roads but by implementing it as a road rule it will make it clear for everyone that you need to move over or slow down when you see flashing lights to protect our first responders and emergency service workers at the roadside.
“As part of this change, drivers will need to move over or slow down to a safe speed as they pass a first responder or emergency service vehicle and any workers or pedestrians in the immediate vicinity.
“I’d also like to acknowledge RACQ who have worked well with the Palaszczuk Government to create awareness of the need for this rule.
“They’ve supported their own staff, along with emergency responders and their members to advocate for this change.”
RACQ Group Chief Executive Officer David Carter said the Club congratulated the State Government on the vital road safety rule.
“We have been backing this change since 2017, with 90 percent of our members in favour of making this lifesaving road rule a reality, so we are incredibly pleased the Government is taking action,” Mr Carter said.
“Emergency responders, including our roadside crews, put their lives on the line each and every day by working in high-risk and often high-speed environments to rescue stranded motorists, but one wrong move by a passing driver could end in tragedy.
“This new rule will require Queenslanders to change the way they drive around roadside incidents to give responders a safe space to do their job – so they can continue help the people they’re there to protect, and ensure everyone gets home safely.
“The sooner the rule comes into effect, the safer our roads will be.”
Mr Bailey said the rule change is even more important after a tragic start to 2022 on our roads.
“Tragically, 12 lives had been lost on Queensland roads in the first 20 days of the year,” he said.
“These aren’t just numbers, the people we’ve lost are sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, and tragically we have 12 families grieving for their loved ones.
“With a few weeks still remaining in the school holidays and many people getting away for summer holidays, I’m urging people to take care on our roads.
“Slow down, take extra care, and get to your destination safely.”
Mr Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government is also rolling out a number of safety strategies and is making a record investment in road safety.
“The fatal five continue to be contributing factors to more than half of lives lost on Queensland roads,” he said.
“It’s why the Palaszczuk Government is also rolling out mobile and fixed cameras to catch drivers illegally using their mobile phones and not wearing seatbelts, anywhere, anytime.
“It’s why we toughened drink driver laws last year, meaning mid-range offenders now need to have interlock systems fitted to their vehicles.
“We’re also making an almost $1.7 billion investment in road safety in this year’s state budget, which will be used to prioritise safety upgrades, improve driver education, make school zones safer and develop policies to reduce road crashes and trauma.”
Mr Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government was also developing a new road safety strategy and action plan.
“That strategy will outline our approach to improving safety over the coming decade,” he said.
“We’ll be releasing it in the coming months to help improve road safety across Queensland.”