The Queensland government has introduced a series of new road rules to better protect emergency response workers safe. As this is an important safety issue, we're going to take a look at these road rules and what the penalties are for breaking them.

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What are these new QLD road rules?

From September 16, 2022, drivers will need to slow down and give room to all emergency vehicles, including ambulances, police cars, fire trucks and transport enforcement vehicles. This also includes breakdown assistance providers such as tow trucks and the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ).

In short: If there are flashing lights on the roadside, move over and slow down.

Following a similar rule that's been implemented in NSW - which carries a penalty of $464 and three demerit points - the new rule also carries a penalty of $432 and three demerit points for failing to slow down and move over when emergency responders are on the road.

Cool, what are the rules around the country for this sort of thing?

Good question! Let's take an in-depth dive into this:

  • Lights and/or sirens are on

    • In all states around Australia, the road rules indicate that if an emergency vehicle is approaching you with lights flashing and/or sirens on, you must get out of the way as soon as it is safe to do so.

    • The AFP advises to “move as far to the left of the road as you can and come to a stop” while Transport for NSW advises drivers to “move onto the road shoulder or breakdown lane”.

  • What if you can’t get out of the way?

    • If you cannot safely move due to a pedestrian, cyclist or vehicle, stay where you are and let the emergency services find a way around you.

    • In QLD, the law states that you can go on the other side of the road or through a red traffic light.

    • In SA, you can “disobey other road rules in order to move out of the way, but only if it is safe to do so”.

  • What do I do if I’m at traffic lights and an emergency car comes up behind me?

    • If at a green light, give way to the emergency services going past.

    • If at a red light, the rules vary with each state:

      • NSW, QLD, SA and VIC - You can drive through a red traffic light to move as long as it’s safe.

      • TAS and WA - You cannot run a red light to move for a vehicle.

      • NT - You may encroach into the intersection if safe to do so.

  • Do you have to slow down, even on a freeway?

    • TAS, VIC and WA - Drivers must slow down to 40km/h and not exceed it.

    • SA - Drivers must slow down to 25km/h and not exceed it.

    • ACT and NSW - Drivers must slow down to 40km/h; On roads exceeding 90km/h, to a limit that is reasonable for the circumstances.

    • QLD - It's less prescriptive, drivers must move over and slow down.

    • NT - No clear provision has been labelled.

  • Lights but no sirens?

    • This is no different, you are required to slow down and pull over where it is safe to do so.

Alright, what are the penalties for not obeying these road rules?

  • NSW - $469 fine and three demerit points.

  • NT - $100 fine plus a $40 levy.

  • QLD - $432 fine and three demerit points.

  • SA - $559 fine and three demerit points.

  • TAS - $216 fine and three demerit points.

  • VIC - $318 fine, or $908 if it goes to court. Disobeying the 40km/h rule sees a $272 fine.

  • WA - $400 fine and 4 demerit points, or a $300 fine and three demerit points going past a stationary vehicle.

Related reading:


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Information sourced from: Queensland Government and Drive.com.au

Image credit: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services via Facebook

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

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