Ambulance Driver Taken to Court for Speeding at 90mph While on a Blue Light Emergency Call

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Ambulance Driver Taken to Court for Speeding at 90mph While on a Blue Light Emergency Call

An ambulance driver was taken to court for speeding while on a blue light emergency call, branding the proceedings as “a waste of time.”

Matt Wood, 27, was en route to Southampton Airport to pick up an “unstable” patient arriving from Guernsey when he was clocked driving at 90mph. Despite providing evidence that he was responding to a medical emergency, he was prosecuted, which he described as “embarrassing.

After receiving a notice of intended prosecution, Wood attended Southampton Magistrates’ Court, where the case against him was eventually dismissed based on the evidence he presented.

Wood, who was working for Criticare UK Ambulance Service at the time of the incident in January 2023, expressed disbelief that the case even went to court. I couldn’t believe it even got taken to court. It’s very odd this has happened. I am pleased the case has been dropped, but it is a waste of everyone’s time. It’s embarrassing it has even got this far. I am hoping this won’t happen again,” he said.

Ambulance Driver Taken To Court For Speeding At 90mph While On A Blue Light Emergency Call

Hampshire Constabulary noted that records indicated the vehicle was “not equipped to transport people and was not marked as an ambulance.” Despite this, Wood provided documents to prove he was an ambulance driver to Driving Standards and Hampshire Constabulary.

The emergency vehicle he was driving was an unmarked Volvo, but he used blue lights during the call. Wood explained that the unmarked nature of their vehicles is because they are kept at their homes and they serve emergency flights from Guernsey, with flight arrival times often unknown in advance.

Wood added, “It was argued it was not an emergency as we should’ve known what time the flight would be arriving. The patient was deemed to be an emergency case. When the NIP was served on me, I didn’t know whether to laugh or not. It’s quite embarrassing, especially as it is our job.”

A UNISON spokesperson stated, “NHS vehicles equipped with blue lights have arrangements in place for handling speeding tickets when dealing with emergencies. Ambulance workers can claim exemptions for going over the speed limit, but issues may arise if they’re in unmarked cars.

The Crown Prosecution Service commented on the case, saying, “The CPS have a duty to continually review cases, and in light of Mr Woods’ evidence, the lawyer in court took the decision to offer no evidence and stop the prosecution. The CPS does not decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence but makes a fair, independent assessment about whether the case should be considered by a criminal court.

The incident highlights the complexities and challenges faced by emergency service workers when responding to urgent calls, particularly when using unmarked vehicles.

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