What to do?

Not for the first time, and probably not for the last, a man has been fined for moving his vehicle forward one metre to allow a police vcehicle, on an emergency call, to pass. The one metre took him slightly over the stop line at a red light and got him fined for ‘jumping a red light’.

This particular incident occurred in Droylsden, Manchester. The driver was waiting at traffic lights when a police vehicle came up behind, siren wailing and lights flashing. He watched as two cars drove through the red light to get out of the way then moved his own vehicle one metre forward.

A few days later he received a letter informing him that he had been caught on camera jumping the red light. A £60 fine.

Previously in Manchester, a man was fined after pulling over into a bus lane to let an ambulance through. His fine was later overturned.

It’s a catch 22. Motorists end up being fined if they don’t move out of the way, and fined if they do. It is generally accepted that motorists allow emergency vehicles through, it makes sense and could save someone’s life. But it could all change if a bit of common sense doesn’t begin to prevail.

Yes, the motorists can appeal through the courts but this is a lengthy process, the appeal is not guaranteed to succeed, is open to frivolous appeals and, in general, is a hassle. Far easier to stay put in future.

Highway Code: Rule 219

Emergency and Incident Support vehicles. You should look and listen for ambulances, fire engines, police, doctors or other emergency vehicles using flashing blue, red or green lights and sirens or flashing headlights, or Highways Agency Traffic Officer and Incident Support vehicles using flashing amber lights. When one approaches do not panic. Consider the route of such a vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass, while complying with all traffic signs. If necessary, pull to the side of the road and stop, but try to avoid stopping before the brow of a hill, a bend or narrow section of road. Do not endanger yourself, other road users or pedestrians and avoid mounting the kerb. Do not brake harshly on approach to a junction or roundabout, as a following vehicle may not have the same view as you.

According to the Highway Code, you should not move out of the way of an emergency vehicle if, by doing so, you contravene traffic signs. Not very compassionate, but those are the guidelines. The rules were amended during the Labour era, which probably explains a lot.

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