Emergency services workers are pushing for national approval of the new Victorian rule that vehicles must slow to 40km/h when passing parked or slow-moving emergency vehicles.
This is despite the fact that one day after Victoria introduce the new rule a truck slammed into the rear of a small sedan that had slowed to 40km/h on the Western Highway.
However, the NSW Rural Fire Service wants the rule extended to all of Australia for all emergency services vehicles.
The Victorian rule, introduced from July 1, 2017, requires motorists to slow to 40km/h when passing stationary or slow-moving emergency vehicles displaying lights or sirens, or risk a $277 fine.
Criticism of the new rule
Critics of the rule say it is difficult to police and can cause crashes as motorists try to slow from highway speeds to 40km/h, especially if the emergency vehicles is parked around a bend or over a crest with little warning.
Luckily the sedan driver suffered only minor injuries in the Western Highway incident, but a crash at those speeds could be fatal for a rider.
Motorcyclists are also potentially in greater danger with this new rule as one of the biggest causes of motorcycle crashes with other vehicles is being rear-ended.
The RACV has raised concerns about the practicality of the rule, especially on country roads and freeways with 110km/h speeds.
“In some situations, for example high-speed country roads that have got hills, they’re undulating roads and sharp bends,” he told radio station 3AW.
“It may be very difficult for someone to see the flashing emergency vehicles’ lights far enough in advance so they can slow down to 40 in time. And if they do manage to slam on the anchors … will any vehicle behind them be able to do it?”