Slow down rule axed for motorists on highways

New rules will apply from September 26.
New rules will apply from September 26.

MOTORISTS will no longer be required to slow down to 40km/h on a highway when passing emergency vehicles with flashing lights activated.

A 12-month trial of the controversial slow down rule came to an end this month and changes were announced by the NSW Government.

From September 26, motorists travelling on a highway will now be required "slow down safely to a speed that is reasonable for the circumstances".

They must also provide sufficient space between their vehicle and the stationary tow truck, breakdown assistance or emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights.

However, motorists travelling on a road with a speed limit of 80km/h or less will still be required to slow down to 40km/h when passing emergency vehicles that have flashing lights on.

The rule has also been expanded to apply to motorists when passing stationary tow trucks and breakdown assistance vehicles displaying flashing yellow lights.

Transport for NSW say community feedback during the past 12-months has been considered.

Minister for Roads Andrew Constance and Minister for Regional Roads Paul Toole said 926 infringements were issued during the 12-month trial, which aimed to keep emergency service workers safe while working by the roadside.

"We've monitored the impact of the rule over the past year and taken on board feedback from the public and stakeholders about the trial," Mr Constance said.

"We're now implementing changes to make the rule safer for everyone."

"These changes are about slowing down safely," Mr Toole said.

Roads with speed limits of 90km/h or more

On higher speed roads (with a speed limit of 90km/h or more), motorists will be required to slow down safely to a speed that is reasonable for the circumstances.

Motorists must also provide sufficient space between their vehicle and the stationary tow truck, breakdown assistance or emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights. This will include changing lanes on a multi-lane road if it is safe to do so.

Roads with speed limits of 80km/h or less

On lower speed roads (with a speed limit of 80km/h or less), motorists will continue to be required to slow to 40km/h when passing stationary tow trucks, breakdown assistance or emergency vehicles displaying flashing lights.

Rule also protects vulnerable roadside workers

The rule will be expanded to apply to motorists when passing stationary tow trucks and breakdown assistance vehicles displaying flashing yellow lights, in addition to emergency vehicles displaying flashing blue or red lights.

All motorists must also give way to any person on foot in the vicinity of a stationary tow truck, breakdown assistance or emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights.

Motorists must not increase their speed until they are a sufficient distance past all the vehicles and people involved.

The rule does not apply when a stationary tow truck, breakdown assistance or emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights is on the opposite side of a divided road separated by a median strip.

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