Published: Friday, November 30, 2018
SA drivers are warned to slow down and give way to emergency service vehicles with flashing lights or sirens, on the back of new RAA figures revealing a 10% increase in motorists caught breaking established rules. Words: Lauren Ferrone
Last financial year, 411 offences – up from 374 in 2016–17 – were committed by motorists caught exceeding the 25km/h speed limit around emergency service vehicles, failing to give way, and even moving into the path of emergency vehicles.
Although fewer fines were issued (60 compared to 69 in 2016–17), there was a significant increase in motorists who received cautions (351 compared to 305).
Here’s a full breakdown of the offences:
The most commonly-recorded offence was exceeding the 25km/h speed limit – reduced from 40km/h 4 years ago – around emergency service vehicles with flashing red or blue lights.
South Australia is the only state where the 25km/h mandatory speed limit is enforced, and there’ve been recent calls to increase it to 40km/h, in line with other states, after reports of crashes and near misses.
How much you’ll be fined if caught obstructing an emergency vehicle. Plus, a $60 Victims of Crime Levy and 3 demerit points will apply.
Despite fewer offences recorded for failing to give way to emergency service vehicles, more motorists were caught moving into their path.
RAA’s Senior Manager for Road Safety, Charles Mountain, said while it was natural for motorists to experience panic in situations like this, it was important to abide by the rules to help prevent further accidents.
“If you see flashing red or blue lights then it’s pretty evident that something serious is happening and your instinct should be to slow down,” he said.
It pays to follow the rules
Worth of fines issued to SA motorists who failed to give way to emergency service vehicles last financial year.
How to slow down and give way safely
1. Stay calm.
2. Move as far left on the road as you can. If you can’t move left, slow down to 25km/h or stop if it’s safe to do so to let the emergency service vehicle pass. Remember: the 25km/h speed limit doesn’t apply if a person’s driving on the other side of the road divided by a median strip. If there’s no median strip, the limit applies to traffic travelling in both directions.
3. While the law states you must move out of the way as soon as it’s safe despite any other Australian Road Rule, RAA says using your indicators to signal your intention is vital – even more so during high-pressure situations.
So what’s classified as an emergency vehicle?
If you come across any of the below with flashing red or blue lights, or their sirens on, you must slow down and give way.
- Fire service vehicles (CFS, MFS or Federal Aviation Rescue)
- State Emergency Services (SES) vehicles
- Police vehicles (State and Federal)
- Australian Customs and Border Protection Service vehicles