More than 20,000 ambulances caught speeding
A recent Freedom of Information request by the BBC has found that more than 20,000 tickets were issued to paramedics after they were caught on speed cameras responding to 999 calls.
Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Barry, from the National Police Chiefs said police forces generally stop notices from being sent out, however this is becoming increasingly difficult due to the introduction of average speed cameras.
‘They would generally stop notices from being sent out when an emergency vehicle clearly displaying blue lights triggers a camera.
‘This has been made more difficult with the introduction of average speed checks in recent years, which usually capture the speed and number plate of the vehicle but not necessarily an image.’
Ambulance staff are currently spending up to 40 hours a month appealing against the fines despite Section 87 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 stating:
‘No statutory provision imposing a speed limit on motor vehicles shall apply to any vehicle on an occasion when it is being used for fire and rescue authority purposes’
‘If blue lights are displayed, then police will assume, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, that the evidence is valid and no further action will be taken. No paperwork will be sent to the organisation concerned.’
The current appeal process against speeding tickets begins with a trust administrator checking the vehicle registration against records to get a radio call sign for the vehicle. This is then checked with the 999 incident log to check whether the vehicle was on a blue light emergency call.
The administrator will gather the evidence and confirm this to the police in a formal letter. If the ticket is not withheld, the details are passed the local operation manager to notify the driver and their details are then passed onto police.
Despite ambulance trusts appealing against speeding fines, just 400 of the tickets have been withheld.