RBT crash prompts action on ‘slow down’ law

Jonathon Wright and wife Lisa and a scene from the crash that seriously injured Senior Constables Jonathon Wright and Matthew Foley.
Jonathon Wright and wife Lisa and a scene from the crash that seriously injured Senior Constables Jonathon Wright and Matthew Foley.

The serious injury of two Campbelltown police officers at an RBT checkpoint in Luemeah last month has prompted NSW Labor to introduce legislation which would force drivers to slow down when passing an emergency vehicle.

Motorists will be required to drive at 40 kilometres per hour when passing a stationary emergency vehicle if the law, to be introduced by Labor during this sitting week, passes parliament.

Campbelltown and Macquarie Fields Command officers Senior Constable Jonathon ‘Jono’ Wright and Senior Constable Matthew Foley were struck when 22-year-old Ruse man Jakob Thornton allegedly veered into them while checking his phone.

Senior Constable Wright had his lower leg and knee amputated and Senior Constable Matthew Foley suffered a broken leg.

Campbelltown MP Greg Warren said the proposed "Slow Down, Move Over" law was designed to better protect police officers, ambulance officers and firefighters.

“When the tragic incident occurred, the first thing I did was talk to the Campbelltown Local Area Commander to discuss the welfare of the officers,” he said.

“Then I spoke to NSW Labor leader Luke Foley and said we had to do something about this.

“We can’t control the actions of individuals but we can put laws in place to deter people [from driving fast when passing an emergency service worker].”

Camden Park resident, paramedic and advocate for the Slow Down, Move Over law, Michael Mills said he was pleased the campaign to introduce the law had progressed.

“I am really happy to see the legislation has got to the point that it will be introduced,” he said.

“I hope to see a safer working environment for emergency service officers.

“The law, if passed, would bring NSW in line with Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria, which have all adopted the measure.”

Mr Warren said all emergency service workers had the right to be safe.

“They go to work in often dangerous circumstances,” he said.

“But they like very other worker, they should be able to rely on a framework which allows them go home the same way they went to work.

“Hopefully with the tightening of the law, it will provide as much protection as possible for our emergency service workers.”

Mr Warren said the law was not a matter for politics and “would like to think that all my parliamentary colleagues on both sides would see the sense in protecting our emergency service workers.”