Many people do not realise that you can actually be fined for getting out of the way of an emergency vehicle. Rest assured, getting out of the way is exactly the right thing to do, but where you stop can get you in trouble. Experts are now campaigning to end this policy and asking the government to get rid of this potentially ridiculous system.
We all understand the mild panic that comes over us if we are driving and an emergency vehicle appears behind us in the rearview mirror with sirens and lights flashing. Naturally, as road users, we all attempt to get out of the way so that they can get on with their life-saving work. If you are in this situation and make a careful attempt to pull over and get out of the way so that the emergency vehicle can get through, you are doing the right thing. But in the past, this has led to fines because the driver has potentially moved into a bus lane, a yellow box junction, or even driven through a red light. These fines could reach up to £1000.
We all know that with the current pressures on the NHS, ambulances can take a very long time to arrive. In fact, the freedom of information request revealed that around about 120 people are dying every single day in the UK because an ambulance isn't reaching them on time. Campaigners are determined to send these harsh and unjust penalties. If a driver has made a judgement call and safely gets out of the way, any other road issues should be overlooked. So although they may have entered a bus lane, if there was no bus around at the time, there was no danger; therefore, they should not have been fined.
With a threat of fines for moving out of the way of ambulances; drivers are becoming more reluctant to do so. Every second counts when an ambulance is trying to reach a desperately ill patient, or, indeed, convey someone to the hospital as fast as possible. The current cost of living crisis means that people are taking extraordinary measures to ensure they are not putting any unnecessary financial strain on the family. If drivers are more reluctant to move out of the way for fear of breaching a road rule, ambulance delays could exponentially increase.
The highway code office, clear instructions to drivers on how to behave when they are sharing the road with emergency vehicles. This is found in Rule 219. This instructs drivers, to be aware, and on the lookout for any emergency vehicles approaching, including ambulances, police, fire engines and doctors. Basically, any vehicle that has flashing blue, red or green lights and uses sirens. Traffic officers often have amber lights, and they, too, are included. Clearly, removing any fines that may hold up emergency vehicles is a good idea, and hopefully, it will be adopted, but in the meantime, the advice is to stay calm and move out of the way as safely as possible.