Emergency plea on speed

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser
File picture
Camera IconFile picture Credit: The West Australian

Police and volunteer firefighters have expressed their frustration at drivers not heeding laws to slow down when passing them at a roadside emergency after a number of near misses.

One year since the SLOMO legislation was introduced requiring motorists to slow down to 40km/h when approaching stationary emergency vehicles displaying flashing lights, police say drivers are still not getting the message.

SLOMO, which stands for Slow Down, Move Over, was introduced in March last year to provide a safer environment for workers who respond to road incidents.

Volunteer firefighters attending a growing number of roadside scrub fires north of Albany this summer have been placed at risk by speeding drivers, according to police who have also attended the scene.

Mt Barker police express frustration at speeding motorists.
Camera IconMt Barker police express frustration at speeding motorists. Credit: Picture: Mt Barker police/Twitter, Mt Barker police / Twitter

Cranbrook police Sergeant Laurie Seton said he believed the message was not getting through to drivers a year after the legislation came into effect.

“It’s getting frustrating ... I think most of it is ignorance,” he said.

“We have been pushing the education hard but it won’t be long before we are starting to enforce more.”

The penalty is a $300 fine and three demerit points.

Sgt Seton said Cranbrook police had seen what he believed was only a 5 per cent compliance rate of slowing down to 40km/h in incidents they had attended.

“The message to all motorists is if it is a parked vehicle with hazard lights on, just slow down — that is common sense,” he said.

City of Albany community emergency services manager Brendan Gordon said volunteers from the city’s 16 brigades were often the first responders to roadside scrub fires and faced the most risk.

“Priority for us is firefighter safety so if we have cars flying through, it’s going to hinder our safety,” he said.

“I just don’t think the community is registering when emergency vehicles are there on the side of the road.

“People have got to start adhering to this as it is putting everyone’s safety at risk.”

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