To move or not to move

State law on mov­ing for emer­gen­cies

Gatton Star - - MOTORING -

IN EV­ERY Aus­tralian state driv­ers are re­quired to move out of the way of emer­gency ve­hi­cles driv­ing with their flash­ing lights on. But what hap­pens when this co­in­cides with other im­por­tant road rules?

Not mov­ing out of the way of an emer­gency ve­hi­cle can re­sult in hefty fines and de­merit points and many mo­torists may be­lieve that it takes prece­dence over all other road rules, in­clud­ing stop­ping at red lights.

Un­for­tu­nately it is not this sim­ple and there is no blan­ket rule say­ing whether driv­ers can or can­not dis­obey a red light in or­der to clear a path for an emer­gency ve­hi­cle.

This re­sults in a lot of con­fu­sion about what driv­ers should do when they find them­selves stopped at a red light with an emer­gency ve­hi­cle with its siren on com­ing up be­hind them.

The cor­rect re­sponse varies from state to state and in some cases a lot of it can be left up to in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

For Queens­land driv­ers the rule is slightly dif­fer­ent. Mo­torists are still re­quired to move out of the way for am­bu­lances, the po­lice and the fire brigade but driv­ing through a red light is also per­mit­ted un­der cer­tain cir­cum­stances.

“The law al­lows you to drive onto the wrong side of the road or drive through a red traf­fic light to get out of the way of an emer­gency ve­hi­cle if it is safe to do so,” the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment web­site states.

“How­ever giv­ing way to emer­gency ve­hi­cles should al­ways be done with the ut­most care and with the safety of your­self and all other road users as a pri­or­ity.”

Un­der other cir­cum­stances fail­ing to stop at a red light could re­sult in a $391 fine and three de­merit points.

Driv­ers can cop a $304 fine and three de­merit points for not mov­ing out of the way of emer­gency ve­hi­cles.

If you’re head­ing across the bor­der to New South Wales, driv­ers there are re­quired to get out of the way of the po­lice, fire brigade or am­bu­lances if they hear a siren or see they are dis­play­ing flash­ing blue and red lights.

A lot of the time this will mean pulling over to the left un­til the ve­hi­cle has passed.

The NSW Road Users Hand­book warns not fol­low­ing this rule will make you li­able for an on-the-spot fine.

Not mov­ing out of the path of an emer­gency ve­hi­cle and not stop­ping at a red light both carry $448 fines and three de­merit points.

Trans­port for NSW told news.com.au mo­torists should only make way for these ve­hi­cles “if it is safe to do so”. “A driver should move out of the way of an ap­proach­ing emer­gency ve­hi­cle that is dis­play­ing a flash­ing blue or red light or sound­ing an alarm, only if it is safe to do.”

PHOTO: FILE

SIRENS: Driv­ing through a red light is per­mit­ted if mov­ing out of the way for emer­gency ve­hi­cles.

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