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Bus lane fine fear threatens emergency services response times, poll suggests

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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 were wailing and the lights flashing.

That rises to one in six (17%) in London, an AA Populus poll reveals.

A fear of fines means that, although 13% of the 18,026 AA members surveyed would not stop in a yellow box junction to allow emergency vehicles to pass, nearly one in five (19%) Londoners wouldn’t.

London is the only part of the UK where yellow box junctions have been enforced with cameras.

Many UK cities fine drivers £60 (£30 if paid within 14 days) for entering a bus lane.

In London, the penalty charge is £130, halved for early payment. Drivers in London face the same if they stop in a yellow box junction.

More drivers are prepared to carry out riskier manoeuvres to help emergency vehicles on their way, with 48% 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: “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.”

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  • Darren - 20/11/2014 11:24

    I know someone who went through a red light to let an ambulance through behind him and got a ticket. When he brought the ambulance issue to the attention of the council, they said it doesn't matter and fined him anyway. Now admittedly that was a fair few years ago, but that's the sort of story that puts people off 'risking' going into a bus lane, or though a red light etc to help an emergency vehicle on its journey.

  • Liz Hollands - 24/11/2014 09:50

    I've always thought that if a bus lane is present, it makes more sense for the emergency vehicle to use it, than for other traffic to move into it?

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