Bill to prioritise vehicles responding to electrical emergencies

A Members Bill to allow lines companies to use flashing lights that require traffic to give them priority when responding to Electrical Emergencies has been lodged by Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown.

Brown says that congestion in Auckland and across New Zealand is making it more difficult for lines companies to respond to electrical emergencies where someone’s life is in danger in a timely manner.

“In an incident where the power lines have been brought down by a car crash, Fire and Ambulance responders can arrive quickly using their lights and sirens, but often cannot assist until the lines company turn up and turn the power off.

Frequently, the line company is stuck on the motorway or in traffic caused by the accident such as where power has been cut to traffic lights, he points out.

The Bill will give vehicles responding to Electrical Emergencies the ability to display a flashing light and will allow lines companies to improve response times. Photo supplied

“In Auckland a car accident involving a power pole will take place every day on average. There are also cases of people dependent on electricity for medical machines which keep them alive. The sooner these vehicles can turn up to get the power back on – the better the outcome,” he says.

This Bill will give vehicles responding to Electrical Emergencies the ability to display a flashing light and which requires other vehicles to give way to them in a similar way to doctors, midwives, and some nurses.

Lines company Vector has welcomed the Bill.

Amending New Zealand’s Land Transport Rules to help lines mechanics respond faster to electrical emergencies could save lives, says Vector’s head of field services Marko Simunac.

“There have been times in the past where a car has struck a power pole and live power lines have fallen on the car with injured occupants still inside,” says Simunac.

“In such circumstances, first responders already at the scene must wait for a lines mechanic to arrive and ensure the scene is safe to enter, which can cause delays to the rescue effort.

“If our lines mechanics have flashing lights on their response vehicles, they will be able to move through traffic more quickly and better support emergency services in situations where electrical equipment is implicated.

“Furthermore, the use of flashing lights will allow lines companies to improve response times in situations where a power outage is affecting people who are medically dependent on electricity.”