Far too often emergency services personnel are nearly killed by passing motorists when attending car crashes, says Dubbo Regional councillor Dayne Gumley.
Dubbo Regional Council has thrown its support behind the Protect the Protectors campaign.
Started by the Volunteer Fire Fighters Association and the NSW Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA), the campaign is pushing for the introduction of 40 kilometre per hour speed limits around the scene of roadside emergencies.
I know there are lots of people in the community thinking ‘why would you need a 40 kilometres per hour speed limit on the side of the road when there’s an emergency?’ when the common sense thing is to simply slow down, but before I worked in the safety of a courthouse and an office I was in uniform with NSW Police. I can tell you the number of times I responded to an incident of trauma on a roadway and myself or one of my colleagues was almost killed because of people simply travelling too quickly was numerous,” Cr Gumley said.
“They place themselves in danger because of the nature of their employment and the government should do everything it possibly can to farther protect them.”
As well as contacting Minister for Roads Melinda Pavey and Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant asking them to consider the campaign, Dubbo Regional Council will also move a motion in support of Protect the Protectors at the 2018 Local Government NSW conference.
Councillor John Ryan said as a reporter who had attended hundreds of car crashes, he had seen a lot of near misses between motorists who had failed to slow down and the police.
The RFSA has written to the NSW’s 128 local councils to inform them of the risks volunteers face and the need for action.The campaign has already been bolstered by letters of support from a number of councils across NSW, including Mid-Western Regional Council and Bourke Shire Council.
Councillor Greg Mohr said he didn’t want to see the people who are helping others when they’re in strife to get into accidents themselves.
At accident sites motorists tended to fixate on the scene, Cr Mohr said, and not what was going on in front of them.
The NSW Fire Brigade Employees’ Union had spent three years fighting for change, councillor Stephen Lawrence said.
“This in my view is such a common sense matter. It needs to happen urgently and it’s something that shouldn't be subject to the back and forth of political debate,” Cr Lawrence said.