HC Deb 23 June 2003 vol 407 cc563-4W
Mr. Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what statutory powers provide for the exemption of private ambulances from elements of(a) the Highway Code and (b) road traffic regulations. [120927]

Mr. Jamieson

[holding answer 20 June 2003]: The rules of the Highway Code apply to all road users and many are legal requirements. Those that are not may be used in evidence in any court proceedings under the Traffic Acts in order to help establish liability.

However, Section 87 of the road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 exempts drivers of vehicles used for fire brigade, ambulance or police purposes from speed limits in an emergency. The Zebra, Pelican and Puffin Pedestrian Crossings Regulations 1997 give qualified exemptions from signals at Pelican and Puffin crossings to vehicles being used for fire brigade, ambulance, national blood service and police purposes, and The Traffic Signs Regulations 2002 give similar qualified exemptions from other red light signals and keep right/ left arrows to vehicles being used for fire brigade, ambulance, bomb or explosive disposal, national blood service or police purposes.

Traffic regulation orders made under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 may include such exemptions as determined by the order making traffic authority. Where appropriate it is usual to include an exemption for vehicles being used for fire brigade, ambulance or police purposes.

In no case is any distinction made as to whether a vehicle being used for ambulance purposes is private or not.