VIC Inquiry Backs Call For Speed Limits When Passing Roadside Assist Vehicles

A Victorian parliamentary inquiry into the impact of road safety behaviours on vulnerable road users has recommended that the Government of Victoria review speed limits when passing tow trucks or roadside vehicles displaying flashing lights.

“Roadside workers are particularly vulnerable when working so close to motor vehicles driving past,” said the Victorian Legislative Assembly Economy and Infrastructure Parliamentary Committee. “New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, and Western Australia have extended the rule to slow down when passing emergency vehicles to also cover roadside workers and Victoria should do the same.”

Jeff Ames, General Manager Motoring Products at RACV said the Victorian Committee’s recommendation means the government can no longer ignore calls for roadside assistance workers to be afforded the same protection as in other states.

“Every day, hundreds of our workers put themselves at risk of injury and death from fast-moving vehicles while helping over 820,000 Victorians annually,” said Ames.

“We welcome the committee’s recommendation of a review but believe the Victorian Government should urgently introduce legislation to reduce the speed limit in Victoria to protect worker safety.

RACV has asked the government to a introduce a 40 kilometre per hour speed limit when driving past or overtaking any incident response service.

“After 18 months of meetings with the offices of the Road Safety Minister, the Police Minister and their departments, we are yet to see a change to the road rules so this recommendation is welcomed,” said Ames.

“Any driver who has been stranded at the side of the road knows what a dangerous and stressful situation that can be.

“I think Victorian drivers will be disappointed that the Victorian Government is not taking action to protect our emergency roadside workers and the people they help.”

However, according to the committee, toll road operator Transurban said some motorists fail to slow down when passing emergency service vehicles on its roads. “For example, 12 per cent of respondents to its Insights online survey… said they do not always slow down to the required speed limit when passing emergency service vehicles, and an audit of roadwork zones on Melbourne’s CityLink and the Tullamarine Freeway found the average speed motorists drove through the zones was 10 to 15 km/h above the posted limit,” said the committee.