Amber light speed warning for SA drivers

Legislation introduced to state parliament today will demand drivers slow down for all breakdown service vehicles and tow trucks flashing amber lights.

Apr 18, 2024, updated Apr 18, 2024
New legislation would impose strict speed limits on drivers passing roadside assist vehicles. Photo: RAA

New legislation would impose strict speed limits on drivers passing roadside assist vehicles. Photo: RAA

Drivers would need to slow to 25km/h when passing, for example, an RAA van flashing amber lights under the legislation introduced today.

Failure to do so could result in a fine and demerit points based on the level of the offence, with a maximum court penalty of $2500.

The RAA said it attended more than 950 callouts daily in South Australia, with 20 reportable safety incidents in the past four years caused by cars passing breakdowns without due care.

RAA senior manager for safety and infrastructure Charles Mountain said the the organisation welcomed “any measure that helps keep our patrols, members and the community safe at the roadside”.

“Almost every South Australian motorist would have a story about when they were rescued at the roadside by an RAA patrol,” he said.

“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.”

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has been calling on the government to introduce similar laws for 20 years, with state secretary Peter Bauer saying last April the “safety of our roadside assistance workers depends” on the laws.

“In 2003, RAA patroller John Kalionis was nearly killed by a driver who hit his roadside assistance vehicle,” he said.

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“Roadside assistance workers are at greater risk than ever.”

Transport Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the measure was “commonsense”.

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

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