Motorists risk £1,000 fines for letting emergency vehicles overtake – ‘follow the rules’
Fake ambulance driver fined for turning on blue lights to avoid traffic
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The call comes as councils across England and Wales begin making use of new powers to charge drivers for traffic offences such as driving into bus lanes or not stopping at red traffic lights. Motorists have been warned that they must obey the standard driving laws when making way for an emergency vehicle or risk fines.
The Highway Code clearly states that road users must give way to an oncoming emergency vehicle, it also adds that some manoeuvres are illegal.
If they are found to not be driving correctly, they could be fined up to £1,000.
GEM chief executive Neil Worth said: “We all want to help emergency service drivers, and most of the time it’s just a simple case of pulling over to let them past.
“But we need to ensure that anything we do as drivers is safe and legal.
“That’s because we must all follow the rules of the road, even when giving way to an emergency vehicle.
“Blue light drivers have certain privileges, but the rest of us do not.
“So if we drive through a red traffic light or into a bus lane to make space for an ambulance, we risk a substantial fine, even if we were simply trying to help.”
To help drivers prevent from getting fined, GEM Motoring Assist produced a series of short clips to educate drivers.
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They outline the best course of action for drivers to take when they encounter an emergency vehicle.
GEM said that emergency drivers appreciate assistance when it is safe and legal, but they do not expect anyone to put themselves or others in danger.
Mr Worth continued, saying: “The line-up of short videos will show how we can help at junctions and roundabouts, on motorways and on stretches of road where overtaking is not permitted.
“So do set aside a few minutes to understand the best ways you can help when there’s an emergency vehicle trying to get through.
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“Not only will you be better placed to stay legal and safe, you’ll be doing your bit to help when someone’s life could depend on it.”
Rule 219 of the Highway Code states that drivers should look and listen for ambulances, fire engines, police, doctors or other emergency vehicles.
They will be using flashing blue, red or green lights and sirens or flashing headlights, or traffic officer and incident support vehicles using flashing amber lights.
It urges drivers not to panic and to consider the route of the vehicle, instructing motorists to take appropriate action to let it pass, while complying with all traffic signs.
The guidance adds: “If necessary, pull to the side of the road and stop, but try to avoid stopping before the brow of a hill, a bend or narrow section of road.
“Do not endanger yourself, other road users or pedestrians and avoid mounting the kerb.
“Do not brake harshly on approach to a junction or roundabout, as a following vehicle may not have the same view as you.”
In May, a driver was fined £30 for pulling into a bus lane to let an ambulance through in Derby.
Gwen Bednall moved into the bus lane as she approached a set of traffic lights but saw the lane was blocked after the bus lane ended, with cars wanting to turn left.
As she saw no buses were coming, she moved into the last few metres of the bus lane to leave the right-hand lane free.
The nurse said she thought she would be exempt from a fine because the ambulance was coming towards her.
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