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the law not braking!! - billy25
afternoon folks!
here's a snippet from last nights local paper,

a police officer escaped punishment despite admitting smashing into another car, when she jumped a red light during police training.
magistrates accepted the defence plea that "special" reasons did exist in the 35yr old officers case.
the prosecution stated that, as the officer approached a set of traffic lights that were on green, they suddenly changed to red, the officer switched on the blue lights, wailing siren, and flashing headlights, but as she crossed the junction, she collided with a subaru pick-up, causing it to be spun 180 degrees. both vehicles were extensively damaged, and the occupants of the subaru were treated for whiplash injuries. the officer, was being accompanied by an instructor, and another police officer who were unhurt.

magistrates, said they had weighed the evidence,and given considerable thought to the case, and decided that she should recieve an absolute discharge, no fine, and not have any points put on her licence.

a police spokesman said, police drivers must take into account the road conditions, and other drivers at all times, and they are still subject to the laws of the land. we support the magistrates decicions, whether they go in our favour or not.

would you get away with it!!

the law not braking!! - Rob the Bus {P}
Unbelievable. Yet another nail in the coffin of respect for law and order in this country.
the law not braking!! - John.Davies
"Police did not respond in time!"
"Fire engines delayed by traffic - six die in fire!"
"Ambulance slow to respond to emergency call - the traffic was against us, say crew."

Which do you want?

The first post and the first reply reflect modern 'blame culture', that permits no one in any form of authority to make any kind of mistake, even in training. This driver was being trained and they, and their instructor made a mistake. Should all experienced police, fire and ambulance drivers now drive 'to the book', even in an emergency? Was the unfortunate ambulance driver wrong, who was nearly prosecuted for transporting a donor kidney at 100mph on an after-midnight, deserted motorway?

Grow up Billy and Rob. Learn to live in the real world, where bad things happen even to those with good intent.
the law not braking!! - AdrianM
It is possible that there is much involved in the magistrates decision that is left unmentioned in the report. For example, if the officers light had just turned red then what was the Subaru doing across the junction - jumping the lights?

the law not braking!! - volvoman
I'm with Adrian on this one - how much about this case don't we know? For one eason or another events like these are often portrayed in a biased manner so whilst, on the face of it, it looks bad for the police driver, it may well not have been quite like that. Also agree with John to the extent that many people seem all to ready to jump on the police when it suits them. I for one wouldn't do their job - life's stressful enough without having deal with lowlife all day and then having the people you're there to protect queue up to have a go as soon as the opportunity presents itself. There's a lot wrong with the Police Service but IMO most of that's the result of political interference and weak leadership not the troops on the ground.
the law not braking!! - billy25
Should all experienced police, fire and ambulance drivers now drive 'to the book', even in an emergency? Was the unfortunate ambulance driver wrong, who was nearly prosecuted for transporting a donor kidney at 100mph on an after-midnight, deserted motorway?

technically, yes!
the idea, i believe, is for emergency services to attend in the shortest time possible,given the prevailing conditions.

"Fire engines delayed by traffic - six die in fire!"-regrettable,but better that- "fire engine hits coach- 52 killed/injured-six die in fire"

the fact is (as i read it) this was not an "emergency" response, you or i have often been in the same circumstances when approaching a set of lights, have you just gone charging through, i know i haven't!. as the spokesman said,"they are still subject to the laws of the land", just because they have "blues-n-two's" doesn't say they have the right to use them to skirt around highway regulations, at will.

the officer had time to realise the lights had changed, had time to evaluate the situation, had time to swith-on the equipment, so why did she not have the time or precence of mind to push the brake pedal?.
she also "admitted" driving without "due care and attention" and as such should have been sentenced exactly the same as either you or i would have been had we been in the same situation.

the law not braking!! - cockle {P}
the idea, i believe, is for emergency services to attend in
the shortest time possible,given the prevailing conditions.
\"Fire engines delayed by traffic - six die in fire!\"-regrettable,but better
that- \"fire engine hits coach- 52 killed/injured-six die in fire\"

Must agree , billy, my father drove fire appliances for nearly 30 years and hence I have known many fire appliance drivers over the years. Their maxim has always been to get to a shout as quickly as possible, BUT, to be of any use they must arrive, in one piece, and able to carry out their duty. If involved in an accident they will not arrive, a machine will have to be despatched from further afield, and life will be endangered far more.

the law not braking!! - Rob the Bus {P}

I'm not entirely sure that I like the condescending tone of your reply.

If that had been a 'lesser mortal' ordinary motorist, then they would have had the book thrown at them and quite rightly. Do you have children? Would you be quite so sanguine about this is one of them had (God forbid) been mown down and killed by a trainee police driver who jumped a red light?

I do live in the real world (unfortunately) but I also realise that everybody on the road has the same duty of care to other road users, be they milkmen, police drivers, firemen, or pink spotty dogs.

If I had made as serious a mistake while I was being trained to drive a bus, then I would have been prosecuted and sacked. I'm not attempting to class bus-driving in the same league as policing, but how come so many people are willing to excuse recklessness and lack of attention in cases such as this.

Incidentally, just for the record I totally supported the ambulanceman in that case. He was driving on a deserted motorway, NOT through red traffic lights.


the law not braking!! - Marcos{P}

Accidents do unfortunately happen. Going through a red light is not an accident.
Why do you think they shpuld be allowed to make a mistake? If whilst I'm working on a 11kva bus-bar I make a mistake I will either kill myself or a colleague. Is that acceptable to you?
I think you need to live in the real world and realise that mistakes do not HAVE to happen.
the law not braking!! - Dwight Van Driver
Gentlemen, please chill....

S 36 RTA 88 makes it an offence to fail to conform to a Traffic Sign and as you all know the red light of a Traffic Sign is a Traffic Sign. Unlike speeding there is no proviso under this Section allowing the Emergency Services to ignore for their various purposes which others above have identified a need to do so..

But they do - so where is the authority. It is at Reg 36 Traffic Signs and Genneral Directions 2002 which states that RED mean stop, but goes on to permit Emergency Service vehicles to proceed on a red light which to observe would hinder the use of that vehicle for the purpose of which it is being used, but not so as to endanger any person or to cause a vehicle from other than red to change speed or course to avoid an accident.

Now you all state that "she got away with it". No she didn't.

She was charged before a Court.

She was not found Not Guilty and therefore let off.

She was convicted.

Under Powers of Criminal Courts Act 1973 where a Court before a person is convicted of an offence, is of the opinion, having regard to the circumstances including the nature of the offence and the character of the offender that it is inexpedient to inflict punishment, the Court may make an Order to discharge that person absolutely.

She was therefore dealt with in accordance with the Law.

From what has been reported here it would appear there are some mitigating factors not reported. Again can I ask when reading reports in papers bear in mind it is their bent to "sex up" accounts to ensure good circulation fiqures.

the law not braking!! - No Do$h
Gentlemen, please chill....

Thank you DVD.

An emotive subject, reported in an emotive fashion (for isn't all journalism one persons take on an event, issued as the truth to the masses?)

Do try not to let the thread descend into a slanging match.


No Dosh
the law not braking!! - billy25
well said and backed up DVD.

just one thing puzzles me, why did she admit to the charge?- it is saying "yes, i was driving without due care and attention", and having admitted, doing so, how can the magistrates say "no you weren't because of x-y-z factors"?.

maybe you have already answered this in your "under powers etc" paragraph, buy doesn't seem to jump out and bite me!-sorry!

the law not braking!! - Dwight Van Driver
Why did she admit the charge?

I presume she was charged with driving without due care of which because of the evidence against her, she held her hand up. There are some honest plods.....

Having pleaded "Guilty" it was up to Their Worships to consider sentence, which they did and thought Absolute Discharge appropriate.


the law not braking!! - billy25
oh i see now!
i'm not usually that thick, but even i make allowances for myself. billy must be slipping into words of one sylable mode due to missing my sunday afternoon dose of "amber"(not red) nectar.
the law not braking!! - Manatee
It seems pointless to pontificate on this particular case without all the relevant facts, but presumably if an officer is being trained in "emergency response" then that will entail switching on the blues and twos and going through red lights, evn though it's not a real emergency? In these circumstances I can imagine the driver being given an absolute discharge.
the law not braking!! - efad
Police like fire and ambulance drivers are not just allowed to go through red lights just as they please If they have their blues and two s on and are responding to an emergency the law allows them to treat it as a give way only if it is safe to do so If you hit someone then it clearly was not safe to do it and they are clearly in the wrong and should be treated like anyone else who breaks the rules
the law not braking!! - robZilla
"as the officer approached a set of traffic lights that were on green, they suddenly changed to red"

What, no amber then?
the law not braking!! - PhilW
Problem here is that we do not know all the facts - merely what a local newspaper reports.
Report raises several questions - especially about the magistrates considering "special" factors that we know nothing about. Also that lights suddenly changed to red without amber (according to article). Lights changed yet driver had time to switch on siren, lights, etc yet didn't have time to stop. Lights changed suddenly yet Subaru was also crossing junction when hit - did he jump lights? Was he prosecuted? Did police car cross red long after they had changed or as they changed?
I think we have to trust the magistrates on this one, after all the police driver seems to have admitted guilt so there must have been extenuating circumstances that the magistrates took into account that the report does not/cannot report.
If we doubt the sentence we are doubting the integrity of the magistrates.
I just think of the number of rugby match reports I read in our local paper while thinking "Was the reporter watching the same match as me?"
I tend to go with magistrates and police driver on this ----but then there's the Hutton Report!!!!!!!
the law not braking!! - Clanger
as the officer approached a set of
traffic lights that were on green, they suddenly changed to red,

What happened to amber?

Stranger in a strange land
the law not braking!! - bugged {P}
Althought the subaru had a green light, it is surely up to him as well to have a look before he crosses the junction??
you never know what might be coming, someone who hasnt seen the light? a police, ambulance, fire truck? Supposing you are driving home music cranked up and you get to the lights,
you may not hear the police, fire, ambulance coming. As a matter of course you should look, whether its your right of way or not, you always have to be prepared for the one who jumps the lights or whatever it doesnt have to be a police car you're looking out for!!!

She should have prepared to stop, yes, she should have her lights going and moce across when people had seen her and it was clear to go. But it is the other drivers responsibilty as well. Just because you have right-of-way does not neccessarily mean you will get it!!!

the law not braking!! - Phil I
The chap who taught me to drive said "These are green lights, they only mean 'this piece of eledtrical apparatus has a green light'. It does not mean theres nothing coming across the junction" Still drive today many years later using same maxim.

Happy Motoring Phil I
the law not braking!! - Graham
Yup I agree with Phil. I was told always to look into the junctions as you crossed to ensure nothing coming.

Also blue light or no, they have to obey the law of the land. There may be mitigating circumstances at times, but that does not apply here.

As I understand it only ambulances carrying a heart attack victim may break the speed limit - but I am probably wrong...
the law not braking!! - keo-the-dog
dont know about ambulances but technically post office vehicles carrying the (queen's) royal mail can travel at what speed they like also they can jump red lights as some ancient law states that nothing is allowed to impede the queens mail . i believe this is victorian but has never been repealed and was something to do with highwaymen and the old mailcoaches
the law not braking!! - pdc {P}
Would appear that GMP vehicles are also able to drive around with defective front and rear lights. I am just waiting for the day I get pulled by one of these vehicles.
the law not braking!! - Malcolm_L
For the record - any ambulance may exceed the speed limit and/or jump red lights, etc if the crew deem the call an emergency.

Would you like an ambulance to obey all speed limits and road signals/signs if you or yours required urgent medical assistance?

I sincerely believe this applies to all emergency vehicles and this depends on a degree of trust and faith from the public.
Trust that they aren't abusing the privilege and faith in their advanced training which is mandatory.

I would venture to suggest that most if not all B-R's would be most cautious approaching a junction if they heard/saw blues and two's - the fact the officer concerned was undergoing training is irrelevant.

If this was an ambulance and the delay after the accident led to the patients death who would you blame, the ambulance crew for trying to do their best or the Subaru driver for ignoring the blue's and two's?


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