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Building Support for New Road Rule to Protect Emergency Workers

Monday, 07 August 2017


Political leaders from across the state have backed a campaign by the NSW Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA), for a new road safety rule which protects emergency workers.


The RFSA is campaigning for a new law requiring drivers to slow to 40 kilometres an hour when passing an emergency vehicle in attendance at an incident.


Paul Green MLC from the Christian Democratic Party gave his support for the safety measure, during a meeting with RFSA President Ken Middleton, and CEO Bernard Cox at Parliament House last week.


“The 40 kilometre an hour rule is already used across New South Wales to protect vulnerable road users, and reduce pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries, by extending it to our emergency services personnel we can give them the protection they deserve,” Mr Green said.


“Clearly, emergency workers are vulnerable when they are responding to incidents, and doing their job. So, applying this limit to emergency vehicles with flashing lights, would mean a safer environment for emergency personnel and the public.”


The RFSA representatives have also met with Greens MLC David Shoebridge, who gave in principle support for the move, for the health and safety of the state’s emergency workers.


“It’s vital that our emergency services workers are safe when they are at work protecting communities across New South Wales. This safety measure can help deliver that outcome,” Mr Shoebridge said.


RFSA President Ken Middleton said the organisation had been overwhelmed by the response it’s received since beginning the campaign for the 40 kilometre an hour rule.


“One of the biggest safety factors faced by our members, and all emergency service workers, is road users who fail to slow down on approach to an emergency incident with due care and attention,” Mr Middleton said.


“The RFSA has had recent discussions with government which have been encouraging. With further meetings over the next week we are hoping to confirm that there are no impediments to moving to implement this important change.


“New South Wales already has a 40kpm limit for drivers going through school zones, or passing school buses.


“Emergency workers are there to help and protect the community, the same safety limit should be applied for their protection.


“A similar law is already in place in Victoria and South Australia. If different sides of politics in New South Wales can unite to support it, then we hope the State Government can follow suit, and put this new safety measure in place.


“Of course, the implementation of any new rule would need to go hand in hand with a public education campaign, to ensure all drivers were aware of the changes.


“The NSW Rural Fire Service Association is the official body established in 1996 to support and give a voice to the members of the NSW RFS on matters which directly affect their ability to fight fires and keep communities safe.


“Our 74,000 members across the state give their time, skills and sometimes their lives to keep communities safe.


“As the representative Association of the 74,000 members of the NSW Rural Fire Service, I believe this measure is vital in protecting NSW RFS members, and all emergency services workers.”