The everyday dangers faced by Victorian roadside workers and first responders are at the centre of a new road safety campaign urging motorists to slow down.
The campaign profiles five people who either work on the roads, or for emergency services, and highlights how their safety is at stake when people speed or drive dangerously past them.
Using the popular ‘Humans of the Road’ format across digital channels, the campaign aims to further raise awareness around the safety of first responders and roadside workers, and remind motorists of the laws in place to protect them.
Since 2017, it has been law in Victoria to slow down to 40 km/h or less, when passing law enforcement and emergency services that are active or with lights flashing. In addition, it is law to slow down to the posted speed limit when passing other roadside workers.
Despite the laws, too many motorists continue to speed and drive dangerously when passing these workers, putting their lives at risk.
Victoria Police actively enforce motorists slowing to 40km/h when passing a stationary emergency vehicle with emergency lights flashing. In 2020 alone, police issued 503 infringements for this offence.
The penalty for breaching the rule is 1.75 penalty units ($272.05), with the maximum court penalty of 5 penalty units ($777.30).
Drivers can be detected by a laser or other speed measuring device, in-car video, and emergency workers can also make reports to police if they witness an incident.
Quotes attributable to Minster for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll
“Near misses are all too common for our emergency services and roadside workers, and this campaign highlights the dangers they face at work every day and how we can all help keep them safe by slowing down.”
“Everyone should feel safe at work and this campaign is about reminding all motorists of the responsibilities we have, and the laws in place, to ensure everyone gets to go home to their loved ones each night.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville
“Police are doing an excellent job making sure our first responders and roadside workers are kept safe on our roads – if you drive dangerously past them, you’ll be caught and fined.”
Quotes attributable to Transport Accident Commission CEO Joe Calafiore
“Roadside workers and first responders face more risks than most of us in their workplace, but we can all play a role in making their environment safer by slowing down when passing them on the roads.”
“The campaign is also a reminder to motorists of the laws and limits in place to protect people whose workplace is the roads.”
Reviewed 25 November 2021