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Slow down

Monday, 9th April, 2018

A crash in Williams Street last year. PICTURE: Michael Murphy A crash in Williams Street last year. PICTURE: Michael Murphy

Drivers in NSW will soon have to slow down to 40km/h when passing emergency service vehicles with flashing lights.

A one-year trial will begin in September, the NSW government announced yesterday.

The 40km/h speed limit will apply on all roads when police, ambulance, fire, SES or rescue vehicles are stopped and have their red or blue lights flashing.

“These new measures will help ensure the safety of our dedicated emergency service personnel,” NSW Police and Emergency Services Minister Troy Grant said in a statement.

The announcement follows repeated calls from Labor for the government to introduce laws similar to those now in force in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria.

It had the backing of the police, paramedics and firefighters’ unions, which have long been campaigning for change.

The NSW Rural Fire Service Association welcomed the move, labelling it a vital measure to help make the state’s roads safer.

“All emergency services face enough risks every day and shouldn’t have to worry about being hit by a car because of a speeding or distracted driver, which is why we called for these laws - and now the government has acted,” president Ken Middleton said.

In February, two NSW police officers were injured while setting up a random breath testing checkpoint in Sydney’s southwest.

Senior Constable Jonathan Wright had to have his foot and part of his leg amputated and Senior Constable Matthew Foley broke his leg after a man who was allegedly using his mobile phone ploughed into them.

In WA, drivers can be slapped with three demerit points and fined up to $300 for failing to slow down to 40km/h when passing an emergency service vehicle.

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