A road safety petition started in the wake of Springwood student Sarah Frazer’s tragic death will be presented to State Parliament next month after attracting more than 15,000 signatures.
The petition called for legislation requiring major roads, highways and freeways to have breakdown lanes at least 2.5 metres wide, as well as “slow down, move over” laws requiring drivers who see flashing hazards lights to slow down to half the posted speed and move to an adjacent lane.
Started in the second week of March, the Safer Australian Roads And Highways (SARAH) Group hoped to get 10,000 signatures so the issue could be debated in NSW Parliament.
Peter Frazer, Sarah’s father, this week announced the petition had attracted more than 15,000 signatures and would be presented to parliament next month.
“The petition will be presented to State Parliament on May 15, which will coincide with the three-month anniversary of the deaths of Sarah and Geoff [Clark],” he said.
The Frazer family started the push for tougher road rules following 23-year-old Sarah and tow truck driver Geoff’s deaths on the Hume Highway on February 15 after Sarah’s car overheated.
The two were struck by a passing truck as they attended to the vehicle.
The SARAH Group has also received the support of the emergency services, with police, firefighters and ambulance workers coming on board to call for the legislation on behalf of “first call” service personnel.
“The response has been fantastic, we have now got the NSW Police Association as well as the Emergency Medical Service Protection Association — the ambulance association — and the Fire Brigade Employees Union (FBEU) supporting the petition,” he said.
“We’ll have each of those unions standing with the families when we take this to NSW Parliament.”
Statements in favour of the petition had also been received from Linfox Logistics and the NRMA, he said.
FBEU state president and Wollongong firefighter Darin Sullivan said he had personally experienced “near misses” on the road when responding to incidents such as car crashes.
“At incidents as a station commander in charge of a crew on the road, probably one of my biggest fears at work is one of my firefighters getting cleaned up,” he told the Gazette.
“At 3am on a freeway we might be working on a small grass fire or an accident and trucks will come past us doing 110km/h, that’s quite common.
“Our ultimate goal would be that wherever emergency service vehicles are operating at an incident, there be deemed a legal speed limit say within 60 metres of the vehicles . . . that would have to drop to 40km/h.”
Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage has given her support to the petition and said measures including a Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) audit of breakdown lanes on the Hume Highway as well as a stakeholder workshop examining a range of safety and educational issues had already started in light of the campaign.
“Anything that’s going to save lives and is helpful to road safety is something that seriously needs to be looked at,” she said.
Blue Mountains Mayor Daniel Myles also said Blue Mountains City Council was “strongly supporting the Frazer family’s fight for better road design.
“We will be working with State MP Roza Sage to identify areas of the Great Western Highway that do not have sufficient allowances for vehicle breakdowns,” he said in a statement.