Tuesday, 2 October 2012


I do not often agree with this road safety charity, but it is right to worry over 999 drivers being somehow above the law. Blue lights already make them too self-important. Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC thinks, “police officers, ambulance drivers, and firefighters sometimes need to drive in a manner that would not be acceptable to others.” He believes prosecution, “unlikely to be appropriate in cases of genuine emergency, unless the driving is dangerous or evidence indicates a high degree of culpability.”

He claims, of course, that his proposals should not be taken as a licence for emergency workers to act as though immune from prosecution. Pious rubbish. Emergency workers already have sensible leeway, but they have far too many accidents. Between 204 and 2012 there were 265 fatalities during, or after, “police related road traffic incidents.” In 2009 police owned up to 3357 accidents. Founding fathers of the IAM, like Bob Peters, class 1 police drivers proud of their exemplary fast and safe driving, would have rejected Starmer’s absurd proposal. Where next? Exemptions for all citizens in cases of genuine emergency? Dashing back to turn the gas off? Letting the cat out? Some emergency Braking is required.

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