Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

'Ambulances get speeding tickets'

Police Scotland have been asked to make emergency services exempt from speed cameras as a matter of course

The ambulance service has been issued with more than 2,200 speeding tickets in less than two years, according to the Tories.

While ambulances on an emergency call-out are not liable for a fine, the paperwork Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) bosses need to fill out for this is a "substantial administrative chore", the Tories said.

The party is calling on Police Scotland to make emergency services exempt from speed cameras as a matter of course.

Tory transport spokesman Alex Johnstone made the plea after the party obtained figures on the number of times ambulances were recorded as driving over the speed limit.

The data, disclosed under freedom of information law, shows that the ambulance service received 1,161 speeding tickets or notifications of speeding tickets last year.

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

If a speeding ticket is issued for an ambulance, SAS 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.

Mr 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.

" 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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