VIC vs NSW. 40km/h Emergency vehicle Law.1 year on in VIC vs a few months in NSW
Picture this: Victoria becomes the first state in Australia to introduce a speed limit of 40km/h as you pass emergency vehicles stationary with there blue and red lights flashing. The government also comes out the week before advising of the new rule changes, although not many people saw it because it was almost as if they were trying to save money on advertising and make it up in new revenue from a law that is as clear as mud.
News reports from the first week highlighted accidents and near misses until seemingly everyone understood the new law......or did they? Fast forward about a year and NSW are trailing the same thing. I recently went to Sydney and discovered that almost all the overhead information signs were displaying the warning to slow to 40km/h past stationary emergency vehicles with blue and red lights flashing. I also experience that approaching said situation that people slammed on the anchors regardless if a prime mover was behind them or not to comply with the law. I thought to myself oh well its the same in Victoria nothing new, if anything they might be a little more eager to slow to 40 in such a short distance than back home but we try to stick to the rule.
How wrong was I! I was on my way to work this morning when i observed 3 Highway patrol cars having pulled over vehicles on the Monash. For those unfamiliar with the Monash freeway its a 30 odd km stretch of Freeway which is the main arterial for Melbourne's in the cities south eastern suburbs with a 100 km/h limit south of Warrigul Road. Of the 2 police cars I passed on my side of the freeway I was the only one that attempted to slow to 40. No one else around me even bothered to attempt to slow. I thought "this cant be how it ends, being rear ended by a Muppet that hasn't looked more than 100 metres up the road to see whats going on. Whats worse is the police vehicles were visible for more than 1 km giving us all ample time to slow down.
I'm a proud Victorian and love the banter that happens between Melbourne and Sydney on which city is the best. Melbourne was voted the most liveable city in the world 7 years running until Vienna got its mittens onto our mantle this year. So I think we know who wins the debate. Anyway I found it astonishing that the "Nanny State" had such disregard for the rule where if you so much as spin a tyre on a wet patch of ground and an officer sees it you get your car impounded for 30 days under "Hoon Laws" (VIC), yet the state that seems to just issue a fine and send you to court for exceeding the speed limit by 40+ km/h (NSW and my knowledge is only from the new Motorbike Cops show that has recently gone to air) seems to do everything to comply with the rule changes. This the same state that I hate merging on to freeways because for some reason people slow or stop at the bottom of the on ramp instead of trying to match the speed to merge at 110 km/h. How can they be so law abiding when the penalties for failing to comply are not as severe as Victoria yet I see it all the time in Victoria where people are speeding, on there phones, failing to slow down appropriately for emergency vehicle etc.
I completely support keeping emergency workers safe but I'm absolutely appalled by the behavior of drivers on our roads in Victoria which seem to have complete disregard to the fact these laws are in place. The Police have trouble enforcing the law because generally there busy doing something else which is the whole reason why they have there lights on. Is it not time to review the law? To set more structured boundary's? Not many fines have been issued because of the fact it is too hard to enforce. I know we need to protect the men and women that risk there lives on a daily basis to serve our community, and protect us from ourselves sometimes but there has to be another way. What that is I don't have the answer for but I am dead certain I don't want to be another statistic because I complied with the law when someone who is probably distracted by a phone, while eating a McMuffin and yelling to the kids in the back seat potentially rear ending me taking them self, there family and taking me away from my family all to comply with a difficult law to enforce with the resources available to the police force.
Come on Victoria! Get your act into gear!