Ambulance speeding tickets prompt call for exemption

Ambulance service badge Ambulance staff are asked to prove they were attending an emergency when caught speeding

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Emergency vehicles should be exempt from speed cameras, according to the Scottish Conservatives.

The call comes after figures showed the Scottish Ambulance Service has been issued with more than 2,200 speeding tickets in less than two years.

In order to avoid a fine, ambulance staff must fill out a form to prove they were attending an emergency at the time the vehicle was caught speeding.

The Tories want that process simplified.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Scottish Conservatives, showed that the ambulance service received 1,161 speeding tickets or notifications of speeding tickets in 2012.

Between January and August this year it received 1,062 of these: an average of four ambulances being issued with a ticket every day.

'Bureaucratic nonsense'

If a speeding ticket is issued for an ambulance, the ambulance service first has to ascertain if the vehicle in question was on an emergency call at the time. If it was, the details of the call-out have to be noted down to ensure no fine is imposed.

The Scottish Conservative's transport spokesman Alex Johnstone said: "This is a substantial administrative chore the Scottish Ambulance Service could surely do without.

"It's a bureaucratic nonsense to think every time an ambulance is on its way to an emergency, the flashing of a speed camera can trigger this kind of paper trail.

"Surely common sense would dictate if an emergency service vehicle breaks the speed limit, there's a very good reason for it. Instead, the situation appears to be the police treat it as normal until the ambulance service can prove beyond reasonable doubt an emergency was being attended.

He added: "At a time when all public services need to save money, this laborious, needless chore is one that can be brought to an end."

An SAS spokesman said: "Any ticket issued to a Scottish Ambulance Service vehicle that is allocated to an emergency incident is subsequently cancelled. As the volume of speeding notices continues to increase, the process for cancellation of tickets is becoming more time consuming."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 160.

    Ambulances are used for many purposes not just for life threatening emergencies. Any sane person should accept that an ambulance being used to ferry someone to hospital for a routine appointment should not under any circumstances be speeding. Having to fill in a form to state they were on an emergency when caught speeding is hardly the most onerous task.

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    My daughter is a paramedic and drives ambulances, among other things. I can assure you that the training and testing involved is rigorous, so that ambulance drivers can drive safely at high speeds in difficult traffic conditions. But they only do so when necessary - i.e. when a critically ill patient has to get to hospital quickly. Issuing them with speeding tickets is irresponsible and stupid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    Speed cameras are either a safety measure or they are not. Speed limits are imposed on grounds of safety or they are not. Are we suggesting that emergency services should be permitted to drive at unsafe speeds?

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    Whatever happened to common sense.

    If your relative urgently needs medical attention would you rather the ambulance with the paramedics on board travels at 30mph or as fast as safetly possible?

    The majority of sensible people know the answer, why are we ruled by half wits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    Since there is already provision made for fines to be waived when an ambulance is on a genuine emergency call this proposal is merely dealing with fines imposed on ambulances getting deserved fines.

    By all means simplify the paperwork but don't give ambulance crews a free pass to speed when it is not absolutely necessary.


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