1000 ambulances are caught over speed limit

MORE than 1000 ambulances were caught speeding in Scotland in nine months - and bosses had to spend hours filling out forms to avoid fines.

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Four ambulances a day are caught speeding
Four ambulances a day are caught speeding

Between January and the middle of August more than four ambulances a day were caught above the limit, according to figures revealed by the Scottish Conservatives.

Now the party has called on Police Scotland to make all emergency service vehicles exempt from fines as a matter of course - to cut down on red tape.

Currently, ambulance bosses have to prove the vehicle concerned was on an emergency journey when it was caught in a speed trap.

Between January and the middle of August, the Scottish Ambulance Service received 1062 speeding tickets after vehicles were recorded driving over the limit, the equivalent of 4.5 per day.

That is an increase on the whole of 2012, where 1161 incidents were recorded, roughly three a day.

MSP Alex Johnstone, the Scottish Tories' transport spokesman, said: "This is a substantial administrative chore the Scottish Ambulance Service could surely do without.

"It is a bureaucratic nonsense to think that 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 is 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 that 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."

Ambulance drivers only have the right to break the speed limit if they are responding to a genuine emergency. That would not include such routine journeys as transferring patients from one hospital to another or returning empty to their base.

Ambulance Service staff have to keep detailed logs of their journeys to show what call they were on at any given time. Any ambulance driver found to be speeding while on a routine, non-urgent job would be fined like any other motorist.

The figures were obtained through Freedom Of Information requests by the Scottish Tories.

A party spokesman added: "The Scottish Ambulance Service is one of many strands of the NHS in Scotland under intense pressure to find efficiency savings."

david.leask@eveningtimes.co.uk

Transport Tragedy

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