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NSW Drivers Must Slow Down To 40km/h Around Emergency Vehicles

Most other states already have similar rules in place.

NSW motorists will be required  to slow down to 40km/h when passing emergency vehicles from Saturday as a new law trial comes into effect.

Drivers must now slow down when passing police cars, fire engines,  ambulances, SES or rescue vehicles that are displaying red and blue flashing lights.

It's a 12-month trial period, and the NSW Government will work with police to monitor the impact it has on traffic and road safety.

Failure to slow down could result in a $448 fine and the loss of three demerit points. The rule applies to cars travelling in either direction, unless the road is divided by a medium strip.

New Laws Aim To Protect Workers And Victims

The trial of the new law comes after months of campaigning for the move by emergency services across the state.

With 40km/h already enforced for school zones, slowing down around emergency vehicles and personnel was the next natural step. Now the government is on board.

"These new measures will help ensure the safety of our dedicated emergency service personnel," NSW Police and Emergency Services Minister Troy Grant said in a statement.

Slow-Down Law Not A Rule In All States

The new law comes into effect in NSW on September 1, but other states around the country already have similar rules in place.

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Victoria: laws were introduced from July 1 2017 that mean drivers must slow down to 40km/h when passing emergency vehicles. Drives could face a fine of up to $793 or an on the spot $277 fine for not following the rules.

Australian Capital Territory: slow-down laws commenced on April 14 2018 in the ACT. Similar to NSW and Victoria, drivers must slow down to 40km/h when passing or over taking stationary or slow moving emergency vehicles with flashing lights. Penalties in the ACT include a possible $257 fine and the loss of two demerit points.

Western Australia: laws that require all motorists slow down to 40km/h and move over when they pass emergency vehicles were introduced on March 2 this year.  All drivers must slow down when they see a vehicle stationary with flashing blue and red lights. Failure to do so could result in a $300 fine or the loss of three demerit points.

Victoria, Western Australia, the ACT and South Australia already have similar rules. Image: Getty Images.

South Australia: drivers in South Australia are required to slow down to 25km/h when passing emergency vehicles. The law came into effect on September 1 2014.  Motorists must reduce speed when in the immediate vicinity of an emergency vehicle with flashing lights however, the law does not apply to roads that are divided by a median strip. Drivers face fines of up to $1036 or a maximum loss of 9 demerit points.

Queensland: Queensland has rejected calls to a similar road rule in recent months.

Northern Territory: the Northern Territory hasn't enforced slow down laws at this stage.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au