Scotland

Ambulance speeding tickets prompt call for exemption

  • 28 December 2013
  • From the section Scotland
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Ambulance staff are asked to prove they were attending an emergency when caught speeding

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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