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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 70522
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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ambulance going through red lights

Resolved Question:

My daughter was driving an ambulance to an emergency, and had to go through heavy traffic at a red light. The control room told her to use the blue lights & siren on the ambulance to negotiate the traffic. The blue lights were on for approximately 2 mins and her speed was approx. 15mph. She has been summoned to court for driving through a red light. the photo taken clearly shows that she was an ambulance on blue lights. what are her options

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Are you asking if she has a Defence?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We feel that as she was driving an ambulance to an emergency, that she should not be taken to court with the possibility of getting a fine and points on her licence, with the worse case scenario that she may loose her job because of it. What should we do.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Well, it depends. I presume she had emergency driving training?
How long had the lights been red ?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The lights has just turned red, and they were waiting in the traffic as normal when the call came through. She explained to the control that although the emergency (someone's airway was block and they were unable to breathe) was two minutes away, it would take longer because of the traffic. The control told her to use the blue lights just to go through the red traffic lights, as she had only just started her blue light training, and had not yet finished it.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
She has a potential defence under S36 Traffic Signs Regulation and General Directions 2002 which says
(b)when a vehicle is being used for fire brigade, ambulance, bomb or explosive disposal, national blood service or police purposes and the observance of the prohibition conveyed by the red signal in accordance with sub-paragraph (a) would be likely to hinder the use of that vehicle for the purpose for which it is being used, then sub-paragraph (a) shall not apply to the vehicle, and the red signal shall convey the prohibition that that vehicle shall not proceed beyond the stop line in a manner or at a time likely to endanger any person or to cause the driver of any vehicle proceeding in accordance with the indications of light signals operating in association with the signals displaying the red signal to change its speed or course in order to avoid an accident;
You do have to prove that observance with the lights would hinder the use of that vehicle.
However, there is also a requirement to check that the driver is not endangering any person by crossing.
For obvious reasons it depends on the facts of the case but that is the defence she can rely upon.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
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