Slow down when passing emergency vehicles

By David Rak

Local police have warned drivers to slow down when passing emergency services or they will be fined.

While passing emergency vehicles displaying flashing lights, motorists must slow to 40km/h – a rule that was introduced almost three years ago.

Why? To protect the emergency services workers attending to incidents on the side of roads and highways.

Mitchell Police Service Area Inspector Peter Koger said everyone should be able to go to work and make it home to their families safely.

“This is no different for emergency services workers and it is even more relevant to our members who undertake many of their duties on the side of the road,” he said.

“When we do an intercept, the driver usually doesn’t get out and so if we’re standing next to him and a truck goes past at 110km/h, that’s a pretty dangerous place to be.”

The plea comes after four police officers who were dealing with the driver of a Porsche on the side of the freeway at Kew were killed when a speeding truck ploughed into them.

The horror crash hit the Victorian police force hard – and the ripple effect has been felt across the country.

“The incident has brought it to the attention of people about the dangers that police officers and emergency services put themselves in,” Inspector Koger said.

While country towns such as Seymour do not have the same traffic congestion as big cities, Eastern Region Division Three Senior Sergeant David Gillespie said road rules applied everywhere across the state.

“The road rule is not only to protect the lives of police officers, but to the driver and the passengers of the intercepted vehicles and to themselves,” he said.

‘‘The road rule also protects fire brigade and ambulance members during their interactions and emergency work.

“If that ultimately means the only way a motorist heeds the warning is through an infringement then so be it.

‘‘I’d rather be issuing a $289 fine than knocking on the door of one of our member’s families to tell them their loved one isn’t coming home or has ended up in hospital injured.

“I’d like drivers to do the right thing, not only for themselves but for the police and emergency services who are out here trying to save their lives.”