Back on 18 August I was asked for an opinion on proposed changes to the Road Rules 2014 (NSW).  That there would be changes was announced with much fanfare by the Minister for Metropolitan Roads, the Minister for Regional Transport and Roads and the Commissioners of both the Rural Fire Service and the State Emergency Service – see NSW RFS Road rule change gives emergency services the all clear; see also NSW Government OAD rule change gives emergency services the all clear

My correspondent asked ‘… what is your opinion of the changes to road rule 317 in relation to volunteers conducting U turns in designated U turn bays on motorways?’

I said that I can have no opinion until I see the changes.  I can infer the proposals all relate to the outcome from R v Wells (see Court of Appeal dismisses appeal by RFS tanker driver involved in fatal collision (October 13, 2017) and all the other posts cited there). I suspect that my opinion will be that the proposed rule changes stem from a misunderstanding of what was decided in Wells and what the implications of that decision are, or should be (see RFS response to volunteer’s conviction for fatal traffic accident (October 13, 2016).  But I may be wrong and I cannot comment on the changes until we know what they are, and herein lies my point in making this post.

The announcement of the changes was made on 18 August. We were told ‘The Road Rule change will be gazetted and take effect in the coming weeks’.   It’s now 4½ weeks since the announcement was made.  For those anxious to see the changes, or more dangerously for those who think there have been changes, I draw to your attention to that fact that the proposed changes are still not publicly available and there has been no change to the law.  Rule 317 is about ‘Information on or with traffic control devices’ has never been amended (see the legislative notes). Today it is the same as when the rules were first made in 2014.

We wait – with bated breath – to see if there will actually be any change, what the change will say and what effect it will have.

This blog is made possible with generous financial support from the Australasian College of Paramedicine, the Australian Paramedics Association (NSW), Natural Hazards Research Australia, NSW Rural Fire Service Association and the NSW SES Volunteers Association. I am responsible for the content in this post including any errors or omissions. Any opinions expressed are mine, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or understanding of the donors.