Call to change road rules

Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell is supporting a call from the Rural Fire Services union to lower road speeds around stationary emergency service vehicles.

The RFSA has called for a change to NSW law which would force drivers to slow to 40kmh when passing a stationary or slow-moving emergency vehicle with its lights flashing or siren sounding.

Mr Rowell said he had not yet read the RFSA’s proposal but believed they made a fair point.

“I haven’t seen [the call] yet but it makes sense to me,” he said.

“I’d love to have a sit down with them and take their concerns to the minister.

“I’m a great supporter of emergency services, especially with all the floods we’ve had in the shire, so I’m very happy to meet with them and hear their concerns.”

Mr Rowell said whatever could be done to make the job safer for emergency service workers would be a “big help”.

RFSA president Ken Middleton believes NSW is lagging behind other states which have already taken measures to improve the safety of emergency service workers.

“I believe more needs to be done to protect emergency works on the road,” he said.

“This [law change] would be consistent with steps Victoria and South Australia have taken to protect emergency service workers.

“Consistent road rules nationally would be logical in minimising accidents and protecting the safety of emergency service workers”

Mr Middleton said drivers should only be allowed to return to their previous speed once they had put a safe distance between themselves and the slowed vehicle.

He said similar rules were in place around schools, buses and roadwork sites.

“I believe this measure is vital in protecting NSW RFS members and all emergency service workers,” Mr Middleton said.

“Australia’s emergency workers know the horrifying realities of the road toll all too well, as they respond to serious accidents on a daily basis. All are committed to bringing down the road toll and supporting any rules and measures which increase safety for drivers.”