Responding faster to electrical emergencies could save lives.
Recently I announced that I will be lodging a new bill in Parliament which will make a common sense change to our transport legislation to allow vehicles responding to electrical emergencies to respond faster.
In Auckland an accident involving a car driving into a power pole happens every day on average. These accidents can be very serious if, for example, the power lines come down on the car. In cases like these often the driver and any passengers are trapped in the vehicle and unable to be assisted by emergency personnel until the power is turned off.
Under our current land transport rules, emergency response vehicles such as the ambulance or the fire brigade can use lights and sirens to move through traffic and respond quickly to this accident, however they are not equipped or qualified to switch off the power and therefore cannot help get the people out of the vehicle until someone from a lines company attends the scene. Meanwhile the lines company which is responding is often stuck in traffic somewhere in Auckland, and often this traffic has been worsened by the accident itself.
Another example which would justify the use of these emergency lights would be a situation in which there is someone medically dependent on power and there is a power outage. The response time in getting the power back on is critical.
My Bill will simply make it easier for lines companies to respond faster by giving their vehicles the power to be able to display a flashing light and to require other traffic to give way.
With congestion a major issue in our big cities this Bill will help make a difference not only to those directly impacted in the examples above, meaning faster response times, and potentially life being saved in the cases of a serious accident or a medical need. It will also give lines company staff the ability to do their job faster in times of need, rather than being stressed out in traffic.
If you have any feedback on this Bill, please feel free to contact me - Simeon.Brown@parliament.govt.nz.