Come on you reds

I always understood that it was legal to pass through a red traffic light when instructed to do so by a police officer. I read in the Telegraph yesterday that a chap in Manchester has been fined after crossing the stop line by a yard to allow a police vehicle, presumably on blues and twos, to pass. Surely he can appeal? Exactly how do I stand when, for example, I am blocking the path of an ambulance on what could be a life-saving trip?

Asked on 24 October 2009 by

Answered by Honest John
It's the only case when you can legally cross a junction to make way for an emergency vehicle. You can be prosecuted if it’s a fire engine or an ambulance. But if it's a police car your defence is that you were instructed to cross the red light by a police officer. Obviously any magistrate with common sense would look at the facts and if the driver had no other way to get out of the path of an emergency vehicle he would dismiss the case against the driver. Of course, if getting out of the way caused a crash then a driver who went through a red light would be held responsible, just as the driver of an emergency vehicle would be.
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