"Jumping" red lights for emergency services

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"Jumping" red lights for emergency services

Postby devonutopia » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:30 pm

I know it is illegal and discouraged, but I witnessed an MGB jump a red light and pull immediately in front of queue standing to his left (no junction encroachment), to let an ambulance through. Appeared to be no danger in the manouvere, and it reversed safely back into its original position after said ambulance had negotiated the lights. I was both admiring the efficiency of the manouvere but at the same, knowing it was illegal. What I saw did please me though. But is it a case of can one wrong, make a right? Some people might recall a post I made a few months back where I deliberately exceeded a 50 speed limit on an A road to allow me to safely pull in to a known pull-in and allow an ambulance past safer than forcing it onto the other side of the road with solid white lines in the middle. This appeared to be similar. A bit of law breaking to allow an emergency vehicle to reach its destination quicker.

Just curious to hear what others have witnessed, or maybe done similar?

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Re: "Jumping" red lights for emergency services

Postby exportmanuk » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:07 pm

Illegal but probably commendable. I usually witness hapless drivers impeding the progress of emergency vehicle due to blind panic
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Re: "Jumping" red lights for emergency services

Postby Pontoneer » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:51 pm

Ambulance and Fire are not exempted to disregard double line systems ( only Police are ) unless other traffic comes to complete stop .

Traffic light situation is different , but I'd do as the MGB driver did every time - my ticket would pale into insignificance against the patient in the ambulance living or dying - and I'd argue the point in court .

Although not what they are provided for , I've on more than one occasion been first on the scene of an incident and , after calling in to my control room and requesting other emergency services as required , have put my car in fend off position with magnetic ( Fire Service ) blue light on roof and donned hi-viz gear then directed traffic until police arrived . The one incident where casualties needed help there were Army personnel also on the scene to render first aid .

Police were in every case happy that I'd done what I did .

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Re: "Jumping" red lights for emergency services

Postby Mr Cholmondeley-Warner » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:16 pm

I'm not aware that ANY driver has an exemption regarding solid white lines. This article seems to confirm that. Has there been a (quite recent) change?

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Re: "Jumping" red lights for emergency services

Postby akirk » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:21 pm

traffic rules are ultimately a human construct - personally caring for a human life comes higher than obeying man-made laws which are only relevant in that they are current - a human life has always been and hopefully always will be valuable - obeying a traffic law only has value in as much as they are there to prevent issues - so to break the law safely to help a life be saved seems to be ethically logical...


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Re: "Jumping" red lights for emergency services

Postby jont- » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:40 am

akirk wrote: so to break the law safely to help a life be saved seems to be ethically logical...

Better still would be to have sensible laws in the first place :roll:

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Re: "Jumping" red lights for emergency services

Postby martine » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:00 am

Emergency services drivers are taught not to put pressure on those at red lights...they don't expect anyone to go across the stop line (or bump up kerbs etc). They will often hold back and switch off the siren and wait patiently.

I too am unaware of any exemptions for police and solid white lines.
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Re: "Jumping" red lights for emergency services

Postby Taffy » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:50 am

Many years ago i was turning right at a light controlled cross roads. My light was green and I was well passed my light when I noticed a police car approaching at speed from my left. My judgement was that if I had completed my turn, I would have been obstructing the police car. So I stopped in the middle of the cross roads to let it through.

The car behind me ran into the back of me. As a result, the police had to cancel whatever they were doing, since they were now technically involved in an accident. This has affected the way I handle such situations ever since.

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Re: "Jumping" red lights for emergency services

Postby Horse » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:01 pm

It's a 'not officially exempt' exemption:

Police drivers may find themselves considering the contravention of signs and regulations where no statutory exemption exists. In each case, decisions on such matters rely on the professional judgement of the officer involved (linked to the NDM). Their decisions must be supported by the legitimacy of their actions based on operational necessity and the practical options available.

https://www.app.college.police.uk/app-c ... e-driving/
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Re: "Jumping" red lights for emergency services

Postby mainbeam » Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:32 pm

In other words, if they keep within their own disciplinary rules/guidelines they wont be reported for prosecution. I think the general, legal, defence of necessity was denied fire-engine drivers driving through red lights, hence a change in the legislation.

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