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Ambulances get 2200 speeding tickets in less than two years

AMBULANCES have been issued with more than 2200 speeding tickets in less than two years, prompting calls for regulations to be relaxed.

Figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives under freedom of information legislation showed the ambulance service received 1062 speeding tickets in the first eight months of this year, or four per day on average.

They came on top of 1161 tickets received last year.

While ambulances on an ­emergency call-out are not liable for a fine, the Scottish Ambulance Service faces a "substantial administrative chore" filling out exemption forms, the Tories said.

Transport spokesman Alex Johnstone MSP said Police ­Scotland should make emergency services exempt from speed cameras as a matter of course.

He said: "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.

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

Under the Road Traffic ­Regulation Act 1984, ambulances are permitted to break the speed limit if the circumstances justify it and other road users are not endangered.

If a speeding ticket is issued for an ambulance, the SAS must ascertain whether the vehicle was on an emergency call at the time.

If so, the details of the call-out have to be noted down to ensure no fine is imposed.

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."

Chief Inspector Stewart Carle, of the Road Policing Branch at Police Scotland, said: "Responders must always take into account the nature of the emergency, traffic volumes, weather conditions, and the location they are travelling through such as residential areas or near schools.

"Therefore, to maintain the public confidence in the integrity and competence of emergency responders, the Safety Camera Partnerships must examine and scrutinise a proportion of the cases detected to ensure that the conditions attached to claiming a statutory exemption are being met, and that the public are not being unduly put at risk for 'emergency response' that is on examination unjustified."

He said the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police ­Scotland also received speeding tickets on the same basis.

He added: "On receipt of such a notice, the emergency responder may claim the relevant statutory exemption by completing a short pro-forma report which must be scrutinised and endorsed by senior managers in the organisation."

Contextual targeting label: 
Transport Tragedy

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