Emergency services passing laws soon to be enforced more stringently in Bendigo

Police will soon begin to enforce new emergency services passing laws more stringently in Bendigo.

Laws requiring drivers to pass all parked emergency services vehicles with flashing magenta or red and blue lights at 40 kilometres per hour came into force in July 2017.

Highway Patrol Manager for the Western Region Ian Brooks said police in Bendigo have seen confusion among drivers about the new laws, but would soon begin to enforce them more strongly.

The laws which came into force in 2017 require all drivers to slow down to a maximum of 40 kilometres per hour when passing a stationary or slow moving emergency services vehicle which is flashing red and blue or magenta lights.

Senior Sergeant Brooks said in his experience drivers were mostly confused by what they should do when passing emergency services vehicles on divided roads.

On divided roads drivers on the opposite side of the road to emergency vehicles are not required to slow down. On non-divided roads, drivers passing on either side of the road must.

Senior Sergeant Brooks emphasised that 40 kilometres per hour was a speed chosen after careful study.

“40 kilometres is about the maximum speed at which a pedestrian is likely to survive a vehicle impact,” he said.

Operations officer for CFA District 2 Chris Jacobsen said he welcomed the changes.

He said any measure that would improve safety for emergency services while they protect the community was a good thing.

“Firefighters and other emergency workers operate in dynamic environments, so anything that improves the safety of emergency workers can only be a good thing, because emergency workers are there to help the community,” he said.

“We need the public to be travelling at a speed where they can stop if they have to to ensure the safety of all emergency workers.”

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