When is an ambulance not an ambulance? Apparently it’s when the police decide it’s not an emergency vehicle, even if it’s doing an emergency service…
An ambulance driver has been fined and had points put on his licence – after speeding to save a child’s life.
Andy Thomson was taking a child’s liver for an emergency transplant operation in Leeds when he was caught doing 84mph on the A1 in Scotland.
The father-of-three had expected to be let off because of his job but he was given a £60 fine and three points on his licence.
He had been driving a private ambulance – but, despite working for the NHS, he says police did not recognise his as an emergency vehicle.
And now the driver has spoken of his outrage at the decision of Haddington Sheriff Court in East Lothian.
Andy, 46, from Blyth, Northumberland, said: ‘I think it’s an absolute disgrace.
‘We’re now going to have to switch off our blue lights and go through that stretch at 70mph even if it is an emergency.
‘That is going to cost somebody their life if there’s too much delay on one of these organs,’ said Andy, who was driving a private ambulance for Lifeline Medical Transport Services.
The company were told private ambulances don’t fall under Lothian and Borders Police’s definition of an emergency vehicle.
Yes it was a private ambulance, however the use it was being put too ” taking a child’s liver for an emergency transplant operation in Leeds” strikes me as being applicable under S.87 RTA (Part VI)– Exemption of fire brigade, ambulance and police vehicles from speed limits. S.No statutory provision imposing a speed limit on motor vehicles shall apply to any vehicle on an occasion when it is being used for fire brigade, ambulance or police purposes [F1or for or in connection with the exercise of any function of a relevant authority (as defined in section 6 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 (asp 5))], if the observance of that provision would be likely to hinder the use of the vehicle for the purpose for which it is being used on that occasion. Doesn’t define ‘ambulance’ as being private or not. Seems as if the discretion is down to the Procurator Fiscal (Scotland) on the advice of the Borders Police who decided that money trumps an emergency when the vehicle is a private ambulance doing an emergency service (organ transplant run).
Again and again legislation is being used in a manner for which it clearly not designed and common sense would suggest it not be used.
Once upon a time a police officer would have used his discretion had he seen a vehicle speeding, particularly one marked ambulance. Then local authorities “discovered” cash cows speed cameras and all of a sudden discretion and common sense along with decency went out of the window.
The procurator fiscal and the Borders Police may just have placed someone’s life on the line with their actions, I hope they’re proud of themselves.