Drivers are confused about how they should behave to assist emergency service vehicles, according to the results of a poll by the IAM.
35% of respondents admitted that they don’t know the current rules on how to deal with an approaching emergency service vehicle, with a quarter of respondents saying they would go through a red light to let an emergency vehicle through (which is illegal).
44% of respondents said that it is unfair to prosecute someone who crosses a red light to let an emergency services vehicle through, with 31% saying should be made legal – but 41% believe that the law should not be changed.
86% of respondents thought it unfair that a driver should be fined for illegally entering a bus lane to let an emergency vehicle past.
Almost half of respondents agreed that traffic stopped at an incident should keep a lane space free for emergency service vehicles – an approach being trialled in Austria. Respondents to the poll also agreed that those who fail to get out of the way of an emergency vehicle should be fined.
Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “Fining people for pulling into empty bus lanes so that life-saving services can get through is just plain wrong.
“Most drivers quite rightly want to get out of the way. Simply catching and penalising drivers who break the rules to let emergency vehicles pass will not serve to educate them – people must understand the rules to abide by them.
“Road users must be on the look-out for emergency service vehicles and move out of the way where possible, but laws have been put in place for the safety of all road users. Our survey shows clear support for more clarity and new ways of ensuring police, fire and ambulance personnel get to incidents with maximum speed and minimum risk to themselves and others.”
For more information contact the IAM on 020 8996 9777.