New road safety rule approved for August 2022
(From left to right: Scott Tilyard -Tasmanian Road Safety Advisory Council, Peter Frazer - Founder of Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH) group and Yellow Ribbon Road Safety Week, Deputy Premier Michael Ferguson, and Mark Mugnaioni - RACT CEO)
The State Government is expanding a road safety rule, to include all roadside assistance vehicles.
The rule that drivers must slow down to 40 km/h when passing emergency vehicles like police, fire and ambulances has proven to be a success and will now include roadside assistance workers.
The new rule will come into effect on the 1st of August, meaning roadside assistance workers carrying out breakdown assistance, towing, battery replacement and other on-road support services will now also have this protection.
This will reduce their exposure to fast-moving passing vehicles and keep them safe while they assist at roadside incidents.
On high-speed roads above 80km/h, drivers must slow to 40km/h if it’s safe to do so.
The news has been welcomed by the RACT, calling the legislation a big win for roadside workers.
RACT CEO Mark Mugnaioni points to evidence showing these workers experience the same risks as emergency services workers, regularly reporting near misses and dangerous situations at the roadside.
"RACT Roadside Assist workers attended 12,200 breakdown callouts to roadside locations where the speed limit was 90km/h and above in 2019-20, indicating they are exposed to high-risk situations every day,” Mr Mugnaioni said.
The latest survey of RACT Roadside patrols found 75% experienced a near miss in the previous 12 months, with 60% of those experiencing more than one near miss.
The announcement coincides with National Road Safety Week.
Founder of Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH) group and Yellow Ribbon Road Safety Week Peter Frazer says it's really important to remember that it's not just about us when we're behind the wheel of a car.
"Everyone's got a right to get home safe to their loved ones every day, no exceptions," Mr Frazer said.