999 lifesavers hit by speeding tickets

Ambulance crews have been slapped with speeding fines totalling £175,000 after being clocked on 999 calls.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 23rd July 2015, 7:47 am
EMERGENCY: Ambulances have been sent fine notices while on 999 calls
EMERGENCY: Ambulances have been sent fine notices while on 999 calls

The North West Ambulance Service, which covers Preston and Lancashire, was hit with 1,750 separate claims over a five-year period, the majority of which were successfully appealed.

Health bosses have called for the automatic exemption on emergency vehicles to be better enforced.

Some trust staff are spending 40 hours a month appealing against the fines.

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A spokesman for the North West Ambulance Service said: “We work closely with the police to prevent the majority of Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) being issued.

“In recent years the Trust has fitted blue lights to the registration plate of vehicles so that if it triggers a camera, the police can clearly see that it is being driven in accordance with the law to attend an emergency and will therefore stop a notice from being sent out.

“If a PCN is issued to the Trust the vast majority are waived after checks have been made into the incident.”

The National Police Chiefs’ Council said some speed cameras, such as average speed checks, only captured the speed and number plate of the vehicle, but not an image of it or its blue emergency lights.

A Freedom of Information request by the BBC to all ambulance trusts in England showed they received 23,227 speeding tickets between 2009 and 2014.

Only 400 of those tickets were upheld.

The highest speed recorded was 115mph in a 50mph zone by the South Western Ambulance Service.

Carl Rees, from the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, said: “After the appropriate checks have been made the PCN (penalty charge notice) should be waived.

“We understand that this is what happens in the majority of cases.”