Motorists are failing to heed the need to slow to 40km/h when passing stationary emergency vehicles displaying activated emergency lights, Castlemaine police warn.
Local emergency service workers are calling on motorists to heed the need to slow to 40km/h when passing stationary or slow-moving emergency vehicles displaying activated emergency lights.
The call from both local police and local firefighters follows a fire at Faraday on the Calder Highway last month during which police issued multiple penalty notices to motorists who failed to slow despite the presence of stationary emergency vehicles displaying activated emergency lights at the scene.
Castlemaine's Leading Senior Constable Koby Buchan said eight penalty notices had been issued to motorists who were caught flouting the 40km/h rule at the scene of that incident alone.
"They were travelling between 60km/h and 80km/h and that was only on one side (of the highway)," LSC Buchan said.
Introduced last year, the new law requires all motorists to slow to 40km/h an hour when passing stationary or slow-moving emergency vehicles displaying lights or sirens, or risk a $277 penalty.
The rule applies to police, ambulance, fire, SES and VicRoads vehicles on all types of roads, including all lanes on freeways, and aims to safeguard emergency workers on roadsides. No demerit points apply to the rule, but the maximum court penalty is $793.
LSC Buchan says motorists should be aware of the law by now - and common sense should also apply.
"I think people should know by now. People need to be aware of the new law and they need to adhere to it," LSC Buchan says.
"Often it's the ambos and the firies trying to concentrate on patients, people injured, things like that, or it's a crime scene for police that we need to work through.
"And common sense prevails. Anytime you don't know what's happening, slower would be the answer."
On the day following the Faraday highway fire Elphinstone CFA captain Andrew Chapman told the Midland Express the incident illustrated the fact that a worrying percentage of motorists are failing to obey the law regarding the 40km/h speed restriction applying in the vicinity of stationary emergency service vehicles with activated lights.
"We need to notify the public that when they're coming past red and blue flashing lights that are standing still on the highway the speed limit is 40km/h an hour," the local brigade captain said.