WHILE most people know to slow down when they see an emergency vehicle ahead with red and blue lights flashing, or an alarm sounding, few know that it is actually breaking the law to pass at more than 40kph no matter which side of the road you are on (see illustration).
The speed limit aims to set a standard for safe driving so that emergency workers can get on with their work without worrying about being run over by a speeding vehicle or hit by debris.
Leading Senior Constable Darren Myers, of Mornington Peninsula traffic operations, said motorists must slow down to a speed that would enable them to stop safely when approaching police, emergency or escort vehicles that are stopped or moving slowly, and have either: Red and blue flashing lights, magenta (purple flashing lights) or an alarm sounding.
A slow moving emergency vehicle would include a fire truck extinguishing roadside fires. “You must not exceed 40kph when passing the vehicle and not increase your speed until you are a safe distance from the scene,” Leading Senior Constable Myers said.
“The new rule does not apply to vehicles on the opposite side of a divided road, separated by a raised median strip, but it does apply when an emergency vehicle is stopped up ahead on your side of Peninsula Link.”
A median strip can be covered in grass, be a wire rope or concrete barrier or a continuous painted island, but white lines – whether single or broken – are not considered median strips.