Bus lane fears ‘threaten emergency response times’

Some drivers are worried about being fined for being in the bus lane.  Picture: Scott Taylor
Some drivers are worried about being fined for being in the bus lane. Picture: Scott Taylor
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One in 10 drivers would not go into a bus lane to let a fire engine, ambulance or police car through – even if the sirens wereon, according to a new poll.

A fear of fines means that 13% of the 18,026 AA members surveyed would not stop in a yellow box junction to allow emergency vehicles to pass.

Edinburgh City council can fine drivers £60 (£30 if paid within 14 days) for entering a bus lane.

More drivers are prepared to carry out riskier manoeuvres to help emergency vehicles on their way, with 48% of UK drivers surveyed prepared to go through red lights and 31% to exceed the speed limit, although they lay themselves open to prosecution by the police.

Overall, 39% wouldn’t worry about bus lanes, red lights, box junctions, speed limits, or pulling up on to the pavement if an emergency vehicle needed to get past.

Edmund King, the AA’s president, said: “Drivers think: ‘But for the grace of God go we – because, the next time, that emergency vehicle could be for us’. And that is why most AA members and other drivers will risk the chance of a penalty charge to save a life.”

“In return, too many bus lane, yellow box junction and moving traffic offence enforcers will seize the opportunity to dish out a penalty charge. Inevitably, some drivers won’t take the risk and it only takes one to block and hold up an ambulance or fire engine.”

“The firms and councils operating enforcement cameras say that they take the presence of an on-call emergency vehicle before issuing a penalty notice but, too often, that’s not the case.”