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New legislation proposed to reduce speed when passing breakdown service vehicles

Motorists must reduce their speed to 25km/h upon encountering the amber flashing lights of a stationary RAA van at the roadside, aimed at boosting safety for both workers and stranded drivers.

Motorists must reduce their speed to 25km/h upon sighting the amber flashing lights of a stationary RAA van or any other breakdown services vehicle alongside the road. This measure, put forth by the Malinauskas Government in legislative form, aims to bolster safety for both workers and distressed drivers.

With over 950 daily callouts in South Australia, RAA workers often find themselves on fast arterial roads, where they, along with stranded motorists, are at heightened risk. The proposed legislation seeks to shield these workers from harm as they assist drivers in returning safely to their journeys.

Under the new law, drivers are obligated to slow down to 25km/h when passing a stationary breakdown services vehicle displaying flashing amber lights. Failure to comply may result in fines and demerit points, with a maximum court penalty of $2500 for serious violations. However, this speed reduction doesn’t apply if the vehicle is on the opposite side of the road.

“This is a commonsense measure that protects the people who help us when car troubles strike,” Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Tom Koutsantonis.

“A vehicle breakdown is not only inconvenient, it can also create an unsafe situation for the driver and their passengers, as well as the professionals who come to help.

“While roadside workers do what they can to make the breakdown safe site and keep everyone at a safe distance, inattentive driving – and going past too fast – can have dire consequences for all.

“When you see an RAA patrol van flashing amber lights and traffic cones at the roadside, please slow down and adhere to the reduced speed limit.

“Workers might be out of sight, underneath the vehicle working on a repair or changing a tyre – and there may also be small children nearby waiting with their family to get back on the road.”

RAA data over the past four years reveals 20 safety incidents attributed to careless driving around breakdowns, including collisions with vans and disturbances to traffic cones.

This legislation extends the existing 25km/h speed limit enforced to protect frontline volunteers and emergency service workers responding to roadside incidents.

“Almost every South Australian motorist would have a story about when they were rescued at the roadside by an RAA patrol,” RAA Senior Manager Safety & Infrastructure Charles Mountain said.

“No-one chooses when or where they break down, and we welcome any measure that helps keep our patrols, members and the community safe at the roadside.

“We’ve seen dozens of near misses and our patrol vans have been hit five times over the last several years so it’s only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed.

“This is not just about keeping our patrols safe, but also our 820,000 members and the rest of the South Australian community who might need a tow or other assistance.”

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