40km/h rule praised

June 27, 2017

Insp Haydn Downes hopes people follow the new road rule starting on July 1.

Motorists travelling in Victoria will be required to slow down to 40km/h when passing a stationary or slow-moving emergency service vehicle when its lights are flashing.

This new rule will come into effect on July 1 in an effort to improve safety conditions for emergency and enforcement workers.

Shepparton Search and Rescue president Michael D’Elia said in essence the principle of asking people to slow down to 40km/h was fantastic.

‘‘To have a clear rule that people need to slow down will assist in making it safer for our members,’’ Mr D’Elia said.

Across his 15 years with Shepparton Search and Rescue Mr D’Elia has seen a number of cars pass at high speed while emergency workers were stationed at the side of the road.

In some cases he has even thought emergency workers were lucky to escape uninjured.

The new 40km/h rule will apply to all road types including freeways, and the emergency services vehicles covered under this law include police, Ambulance Victoria, Country Fire Authority, Metropolitan Fire Brigade, State Emergency Service and VicRoads.

Shepparton police Inspector Haydn Downes said it was important for people to slow down when they saw flashing blue lights and not increase their speed until they were a safe distance from emergency services workers.

Insp Downes said in the past emergency services workers had been struck and killed by cars travelling at the regular road speed.

In 2005, Benalla police Highway Patrol Senior Constable Rennie Page died after being hit by a passing car while issuing a speeding ticket on Hume Fwy.

‘‘It’s all about safety for emergency service vehicles on the road,’’ Insp Downes said.

‘‘We hope people take it on board and keep everyone safe.’’

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