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blue light driving
gburgess Offline
#1 Posted : 16 July 2011 11:14:02(UTC)
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can anyone help me. People keep saying that the rules for blue light driving are changing or have changed and no one is able to give me a straight answer.



As for as i know at present, you do not need any qualification to drive on blue lights, so long as it is for a valid reason.



I have been told that there is a new law coming in saying that people driving on blue lights needs to have a Formal qualification.



 



can anyone help me please and clear the mud for me.



thanks


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NWEMS Offline
#2 Posted : 16 July 2011 19:01:26(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: gburgess Go to Quoted Post



can anyone help me. People keep saying that the rules for blue light driving are changing or have changed and no one is able to give me a straight answer.



As for as i know at present, you do not need any qualification to drive on blue lights, so long as it is for a valid reason.



I have been told that there is a new law coming in saying that people driving on blue lights needs to have a Formal qualification.



 



can anyone help me please and clear the mud for me.



thanks



Hi you don't need any formal quals to do this but you have to be driving an Ambulance and it has to be reged as an ambulance its no good just writing the words on there.



it comes from an outdated law stating an ambulance is a vehilce used to transport people to a hospital not an invalid carrage.



 



If you do not have an ambulance and are not attending an emergency or own a fire service car owned by the fire service with clearence to use blue lights dont do it unless you are on private land you will get booked.



as for driving at speed or through red lights even in a valid vehicle you can only claim exemptions in emergencys.



 



Hope this helps



 



Mike


speckles Offline
#3 Posted : 16 July 2011 19:54:39(UTC)
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There is a lot of tosh talked about blue light driving one of the best links I have found is this one:



http://www.ukemergency.c...id=52&Itemid=61#2011


mph Offline
#4 Posted : 17 July 2011 07:57:15(UTC)
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NWEMS is incorrect with regard to vehicles used for Ambulance purposes , in the RVLR an Ambulance is unequivocally allowed warning devices, however with regard to claiming exemptions the type of use is far more relevant, the issues that have arisen with some EMS operators (especially smaller ones ) is that RRVs have been taxed as 'ambulances' despite not meeting the requirements to be taxed as an ambulance and then subsequently being used outside the restrictions that the zero VED classification of Ambulance places on use.


The road Safety Act 2006 s.19 allowed secondary legislation to stipulate the training required to claim the speed limit exemptions , however such secondary legislation has not been forth coming, certain people 9 often with an interest in selling training) claim the RSA 2006 s.19 has a far wider impact than it does , however under PUWER and corporate manslaughter legislation training needs to be provided.
brian Offline
#5 Posted : 19 July 2011 09:03:28(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: gburgess Go to Quoted Post



can anyone help me. People keep saying that the rules for blue light driving are changing or have changed and no one is able to give me a straight answer.



As for as i know at present, you do not need any qualification to drive on blue lights, so long as it is for a valid reason.



I have been told that there is a new law coming in saying that people driving on blue lights needs to have a Formal qualification.



 



can anyone help me please and clear the mud for me.



thanks



Take a look at the road traffic act sections 17 and 18 ( i think that the correct section but it near there ) they give you the law as it stands at the moment to claim the exemptions you need to have a form of training if you need more info pm me and i will find it for you when i get back home 


mph Offline
#6 Posted : 20 July 2011 17:01:26(UTC)
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http://www.legislation.g...kpga/1988/52/section/17

Road traffic act 1988 S17 is about Motorcycle helmets

Road Safety act 2006 s.19 is as previously discussed in this thread , a section which allows secondary legislation to stipulate the nature of training required to claim the existing speed limit exemption, it does not affect any other exemption or the fitting or use of warning devices .
PHECTA Offline
#7 Posted : 23 July 2011 13:57:22(UTC)
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You will find that most if not all of the companies that provide insurance for Ambulance Vehicles (as this is the majority of occasions people would drive on blue lights as it is a specific offence to drive a police car on blue lights as you would be impersonating a police officer etc) then the insurers will insist that only people who have been "Blue Light Trained".

 

Therefor, if you have not attended a formal driver training course specifically for driving on "Blue Lights" in emergency conditions, then you could be in breach of your Insurance Terms and therefor not driving with valid insurance.


ooh_thats_pretty Offline
#9 Posted : 23 August 2011 12:02:36(UTC)
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It's all well and good being able to quote road safety act and requirements etc...etc...and I commend those PAS operators who adhere to these, However, are we not missing the point here....?



Should we not be more concerned about someone who (IMHO) looks - on the face of it - to just want to put some lights on their car and drive around??
marmite Offline
#10 Posted : 23 August 2011 13:04:30(UTC)
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I once wired a blue light to the top of a policemans helmet (carrying batteries in satchel with a wire running down my back) dressed only in a run-around-emu costume ala Bernie Clifton - does that count?
medicdog Offline
#11 Posted : 23 August 2011 15:58:32(UTC)
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Now THAT I would like to see!
newbiemedic Offline
#12 Posted : 25 August 2011 14:46:18(UTC)
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Mph..... At this, the vehicles being taxed as ambulances, does this then mean, that the NHS rrv cars, with no strecher capacity, motorcycles and incident command vehicles for ambulance service, are illegal? Not just the smaller PAS......
ginge
IHCDTech Offline
#13 Posted : 25 August 2011 15:41:38(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: newbiemedic Go to Quoted Post
Mph..... At this, the vehicles being taxed as ambulances, does this then mean, that the NHS rrv cars, with no strecher capacity, motorcycles and incident command vehicles for ambulance service, are illegal? Not just the smaller PAS......

ginge




Newbiemedic, they use a separate classification of NHS Vehicle.  I did notice one PAS with "NHS Vehicle" on their tax disc despite the vehicle not being owned by the NHS!  I believe they hoodwinked the DVLA office with their NHS Contractor status.
newbiemedic Offline
#14 Posted : 25 August 2011 15:59:36(UTC)
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Tech,
Thanks for that. When I got hold of the DVLA a few weeks back, (having seen at St Georges tooting, a hospital courier vehicle with NHS VEHICLE on the vel) with regards to the above, they stated that it was a real vel, but may only be used on hospital business etc. Whereas ambulance, VAS/PAS and NHS must have AMBULANCE on their vel.
Who owns/operates them, is irrelevant.

So with a PAS response car, an NHS response car and a VAS response car, all lined up together, with no patient carrying capability, all taxed as an ambulance, which one is breaking the law?

I have another email somewhere, that pertains to this, I will dig it out.

Ginge
newbiemedic Offline
#15 Posted : 25 August 2011 16:12:30(UTC)
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Ok, sorry for the double post......

Following the judgement last year at the High Court of Lord-Castle v Director of Public Prosecutions (23 January 2009) - more details below - In which Lord Justice Baker and Justice Maddison ruled that under the Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations and Road Vehicles (construction and use) regulations no vehicle which cannot carry a stretcher patient can legally fit blue lights or sirens to their vehicle with the exemption of 'ambulance purposes',
 

Further information on high court case:

http://www.bailii.org/ew...es/EWHC/QB/2009/87.html

 

http://www.criminallawan...-to-be-an-ambulance.html
PrivAmb Offline
#16 Posted : 26 August 2011 01:05:08(UTC)
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The well recited issues are;

1) a vehicle can claim zero rate exise licence if it is an ambulance - a vehicle constructed or adapted and used for no other purpose etc as describedf in the vehicle excise regulations - the only piece of law that defines an ambulance.

2 ) Any vehicle used by the NHS that does not fit that description can claim zero rate excise if it is taxed as an NHSV

3) A vehicle is exempt from the speed limit, red lights, keep left bollards etc if it is being used for ambulance purposes. This includes civillians using their own cars to transport seriously ill people to hospital. Ambulance purposes does not mean an ambulance, hence why motorcycles and cars can claim the ambulance purposes exemption.

4) A vehicle being used for ambulance purposes is entitled to have a siren fitted. Points three and four apply to staff responders and ambulance officers using their own or lease cars for responding either on duty or on call

5) The law does not differentiate between NHS, private, volunteer or military ambulances.

6) There is no specific offence of blue light misuse. Any vehicle which is an ambulance or used for ambulance purposes is entitled to have one fitted. It is an offence to fit a special warning lamp or something that resembles a special warning lamp on any vehicle not meeting description in the list in the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations.

Hope that this assists to clarify. The case linked demonstrated that for a vehicle other than an ambulance to be held to be used for ambulance purposes, then it must at that time be carrying equipment that would make it operational for those purposes - ie a first aid kit and a ladder does not meet the threshhold test. If you also google the name of the defendant, you will see that he was a complete fantasist and deserved to be convicted.
newbiemedic Offline
#17 Posted : 26 August 2011 08:25:54(UTC)
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"The unsuccessful appellant in this case had previously run an organization providing vehicular services to the NHS, and was a member of the British Ambulance Association who had also inspected his vehicle. He had attended many accidents as a “good Samaritan”, and the police in attendance had been grateful for his help on previous occasions. It is submitted that while the court's interpretation of “ambulance purposes” improved upon the very narrow formula of the District Judge, *****the prevention of some vehicles used for purposes associated with the treatment of injured personsz at accident scenes from carrying this type of blue light or siren because they do not convey the sick or injured as opposed to treat them with first-aid may be an unfortunate decision.***** It is not to dramatize the matter to recognize that if limitations are unnecessarily placed on small organizations or private individuals from operating vehicles capable of use for ambulance purposes the effect could be to prevent them from helping to save lives. The judgment does however leave the potential for dual-purpose vehicles to be fitted with lights and sirens where they also have the physical potential to transport a person on a stretcher."


It is my interpretation, that the above(from link 2) means that you are not driving an ambulance, unless it is able to convey the sick and injured, not merely make as a first response, give aid and wait for an actual ambulance.

Ginge

And yes, it appears the guy was a tool

When you say private persons may claim exemptions, you do mean if they are using blues to transport?
Or in a spanish way of doing things where you may claim exemptions for such purposes if you hang/wave a brightly coloured material from your vehicle to the attention of other drivers?
CFRMAN Offline
#8 Posted : 26 August 2011 11:03:57(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: PHECTA Go to Quoted Post
You will find that most if not all of the companies that provide insurance for Ambulance Vehicles (as this is the majority of occasions people would drive on blue lights as it is a specific offence to drive a police car on blue lights as you would be impersonating a police officer etc) then the insurers will insist that only people who have been "Blue Light Trained".

 

Therefor, if you have not attended a formal driver training course specifically for driving on "Blue Lights" in emergency conditions, then you could be in breach of your Insurance Terms and therefor not driving with valid insurance.







I agree with the above, have personaly check the current rta legislation and other regs this is the most easy to undertans and correct info.
newbiemedic Offline
#18 Posted : 26 August 2011 13:14:04(UTC)
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A couple of years back, I had a car fitted with blues and sirens.
To look at the vehicle, you wouldn't know it. As all the lenses were clear.
My insurance Co. Had my occupation as "ambulance driver" anyway, but still didn't ask me to prove that I had the training to use the warning devices. Even when I clearly stated, it was for response and scene safety.(nb, I wasn't driving around with blue beacons fitted to my vehicle, unless at an event, or a mag mount sweeny light at spontaneous incidents)at events, ambulance signs were fitted to all 4 sides.
Even with the above legislation, I'd happily take my chance, in court. Have enough training and experience to justify that I was doing more than a normal member of public would do. Furthermore, I wouldn't get the BAA to be a witness.
My car, if used for ambulance purposes, is just as unlawful as any other ambulance bike or car.

So where do the PAS/VAS/NHS go from here?
Those out and about, working on cars and bikes, could be breaking the law.their service could be complicit in this.
Perhaps it is up to crews, to bring this to the attention of their managers/union reps, to petition the DoH and transport to get the law looked into and changed.
As stated above, there is little law for this, what law there is is already out dated(no cars, no strobes etc). But judges can set precedent. That's retry much as good as law when it comes to finding you guilty.

I have no doubt, that if the person Lord-castle, had been a different person, maybe someone with actual quals, training and experience, witnesses and ø previous convictions the outcome would have been different.
medicdog Offline
#19 Posted : 26 August 2011 13:35:22(UTC)
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Please forgive me if this sounds like a dig ...it isnt...it sounds like you have something about NHS vehicles that are not trucks, can you tell me of any police officer in this land that would take the view that you are taking, that a Paramedic on a NHS registered Motorcycle/Car is breaking the law because it doesnt have a mode to transport a patient? I really cant see what the problem is! And as far as PAS are concerned, as long as they comply with what has always been the case, then they will be fine. As far as VAS, they already comply as far as I know, and in my experience, they always ensure they do everything correctly because of the nature of the status that they carry. The problem occurs with "Private" vehicles wanting "Blues and Twos" even this is covered within the Lighting Regs. It may be me not seeing what the point is your are trying to make, so please forgive me if this is the case. This subject comes up time and time and time again, and no doubt will come up again and again!
newbiemedic Offline
#20 Posted : 26 August 2011 14:49:22(UTC)
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Medicdog,
No dig taken. :-)
It's not a thing about the NHS, far from it. It's an issue that potentially affects any provider of ambulances, that use vehicles that do not transport.
You are quite right, what police officer would take an NHS provider to court?
I drive marked response cars and ambulances for a PAS. also I drive trucks for a VAS.
My point, really was to highlight, the fact that unwittingly, people -be it from PAS VAS or NHS, could be putting themselves at risk of prosecution, by driving these vehicles.
If your employer didn't supply hi viz jackets and lids, I'm sure you would have words to say to them.
The same in this instance. I'm informed, and I have made my informed decision to keep driving cars. But I have written to various HMG departments informing them that people may have their professional registration/licence to drive/CRB impaired, because the law is toonshort sighted to see, that a paramedic driving a car(and let's not even mention BASICS, and what exemptions they claim) or a VAS/PAS in a car, is just as much an ambulance as a big yellow taxi.
And the more people that are informed, and can jump on the band wagon to ask their MP to lobby for change, the better.
(epic)
So I'm not taking the side or against anyone, I just want all my colleagues, you, and anyone else who drives such things, to be able to help themselves, as this is a part of legislation that needs tidying up.

:-)
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