To move or not to move
State law on moving for emergencies
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.”
SIRENS: Driving through a red light is permitted if moving out of the way for emergency vehicles.