Ms JODI McKAY (Strathfield) (16:49): On 1 September a new road rule will come into force whereby drivers will have to slow down to 40 kilometres an hour when passing an emergency vehicle on the side of the road which has its lights flashing.
The law, however, does not go far enough. It fails to include all first incident responders. This morning the Government shut down debate on a bill that would have rectified this situation. I will read ontoHansard a message from Peter Frazer, who has campaigned for this rule change since his daughter, Sarah, was killed.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Members who wish to have private conversations will leave the Chamber.
Ms JODI McKAY: This is Peter's message:
On 15 February 2012 my daughter Sarah Frazer was travelling from our home in Springwood to Wagga Wagga to start university.
While she was driving along the Hume Freeway her vehicle broke down, something that happens thousands of times a day across Australia. But because the emergency lane she pulled over into hadn't been built to AustRoads Standards (it was just 1.5 metres wide), her car was left overhanging into a 110 kilometre per hour lane.
Through no fault of her own, Sarah had become the ultimate vulnerable road user and her life was in jeopardy.
It was around 11:15 am when she left me a frightening voicemail. She didn't know why but her car suddenly lost power, and all she could do was to guide it as close as possible to the barrier. But she couldn't get her vehicle out of the high speed lane.
Additionally, there were thorny bushes on the other side of the guardrail and the ground steeply sloped into a creek.
She was distressed as she told me that she couldn't get herself off the road and out of danger. But it was her next words that will haunt me for the rest of my life …
This is Sarah's voicemail message to her father:
Cars and trucks are speeding past just centimetres away from my car ... No one is changing lanes. I am terrified that they will hit me. I rang the NRMA. Dad, please call me!
Peter's message continues:
As I was at work, my personal mobile was turned off so I didn't get her voicemail until just after 12:30 pm.
When I turned on my mobile and heard her message, I went into a state of panic … my heart was thumping in my chest as I dialled her number but it rang out ... I kept on ringing her but it just kept going to her voicemail.
My darling Sarah was the kindest, funniest, most intelligent person I had ever met. She was loved by everyone who met her and at 23 years old, she had everything to live for. But at 12:32 pm, Sarah and the tow truck driver who had come to assist, were horrifically killed when a passing truck crashed into them.
My beautiful daughter was left in pieces on Australia's most important road.
My family didn't find out that Sarah had been killed until the NSW Police came to our home around 5.00pm that evening. I arrived just after 5:00pm to find my family screaming and crying with two Police Officers standing with them, weeping.
I didn't need to be told what had happened ... I just fell to the ground wailing and repeating, "She's only broken down ... She's only broken down."
One of my other daughters wasn't with us when the Police arrived but she would learn of this tragedy in the worst way possible. She was alone at her boyfriend's place watching Channel TEN when a news flash came on about a tow truck driver and a young woman killed on the Hume Freeway ... She recognised Sarah's car from the helicopter footage. Sitting all by herself, she would realise that it was her beautiful sister who had been killed.
As our family and friends will grieve her loss for the rest of our lives, we don't want anyone else's loved ones to go through what we must face every day. No one should ever experience what it is like to have someone you love killed in such an avoidable circumstance.
It is six and a half years today since Sarah was killed. As every life is precious and every life matters, this is far too long for NSW to do so little when we can protect all those who are vulnerable on our roads and highways.
SarahGroup started the push for a Slow Down Move Over (SloMo) law in NSW more than six years ago.
Indeed we submitted a 23,000 signature Petition to the Acting Premier on 15 May 2012 that asked the NSW Government to implement a law to protect our police, emergency services, tow truck drivers and roadside assistance personnel.
But how ironic is it that having started the push for SloMo in 2012, the very class of people whose deaths prompted this push for improved road safety, won't be afforded any protection by the new NSW road rule.
That rule comes into force on 1 September and it is inadequate.