New proposals could see fines ditched to protect ambulances
A motoring safety organisation has launched a campaign to prevent drivers from receiving fines when moving out of the way for ambulances driving past. When an emergency vehicle approaches, many drivers will automatically find a place to stop to ensure they are not in the way of the oncoming vehicle.
However, if a road user were to drive through a red light, into a bus lane or stop in a yellow box junction, they could be hit with fines up to £1,000.
A new campaign is aiming to scrap the “harsh” penalties to ensure ambulances can continue to their destination without being held up by traffic.
Recent data found that an average of 120 people died every day before an ambulance reached them, according to a Freedom of Information request.
Gary Digva, from Snooper, said: “People are struggling enough with the cost-of-living crisis, and they should not be punished for making a ‘mistake’ while moving out of the way for an emergency vehicle.
“If it is safe to move to make room for ambulances rushing to save lives, there should be an exception.
“Our campaign would mean harsh penalties for drivers who break road rules while moving out the way for ambulances, if it is safe to do so, would be removed.
“In an emergency, every second counts, but these huge fines stop motorists from wanting to move out of the way, causing delays to an already over-stretched ambulance service.
Rule 219 of the Highway Code instructs motorists on what they should do when driving near emergency and incident support vehicles.
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It states that they should look and listen for any emergency vehicles including ambulances, fire engines police and doctors.
This applies to any vehicles with flashing blue, red or green lights or sirens and traffic officers with flashing amber lights.
In the event that this happens, drivers should remain calm and not panic as this could lead to erratic driving and potentially cause an accident.
Motorists should also consider the route of the oncoming emergency vehicle, with many of them weaving through traffic and driving above the speed limit to attend an emergency.
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If necessary, drivers should pull to the side of the road and stop, although this should be avoided if they are near a hill, bend or narrow section of road.
Mounting curbs should also be avoided if possible, as this could endanger pedestrians and cause issues for other road users.
Mr Digva suggested that drivers could use dashcams to make sure they are in the clear in the event that a fine is handed out.
He added: “As long as drivers don’t panic and check they are not coming into conflict with other road users or endangering anyone else by moving out of the way, people should be free to move without penalties.
“Drivers that check their surroundings and make room for emergency vehicles safely should be free from prosecution and dashcams can help to prove that they have done so.”
In other European countries, it is a law for drivers to create an “emergency corridor” to allow such vehicles to pass through without being blocked.
In Germany, drivers can be fined for not moving out of the way, with motorists in the left lane moving to the side of the road and drivers in other lanes moving to the right.
This creates a suitable gap for emergency vehicles to safely drive to their destination while also ensuring all motorists are on the same page and remaining safe.
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