Very unsatisfied today – mostly because I tried to get an iPhone 3G. The rest need not be said.

With regard to the 'Warranted' post – We decided not to tell the police, after all they almost certainly have his address and will make an appointment to arrest him in the future (I learnt this from reading police blogs). He wasn't a threat to anyone apart from himself and in his distressed frame of mind (and fear of the police) it wouldn't have done his health any good to have the police hovering over him.

We did however let the nurse who took over care for him know, she needed to know as it could impact his further care.

I'm now going to potentially identify someone, not a patient obviously, but there is a reason behind this.

We were sent to a car crash on the A406 yesterday between Ilford and Barking, the traffic was moving exceptionally slowly due to the accident, so we had to squeeze through the lanes of traffic. As we travelled on blue lights and sirens the traffic parted before us like the red sea.

Which is why I was fuming when my crewmate told me that we were being followed.

Some [expletive deleted] in his car was tailgating us through the jam, keeping close to our behind he was jumping the queue that everyone else had been sitting in.

Now, ethics aside, this is incredibly dangerous – I often have to brake hard and he could have gone into the back of me, so I had to slow down the speed I was driving. This sort of behaviour has caused more than one accident when the ambulance driver has had to hit the brakes because, for example, a dog has run out into the road.

My crewmate went into the back of the ambulance and got his license plate number…

We reached the accident and dealt with the patient and while my crewmate was taking the patient's details I had a little chat with one of the police officers there. I explained what had happened, and he took the driver's license plate number.

“Right”, he said, “I'll give him a call in the morning…”

It's an offence to impede the progress of an emergency vehicle, something this driver was doing even though he was behind me – hopefully he'll be charged with this as I believe it is a £500 fine. That'll teach the [expletive deleted] a lesson.

I mention where the accident took place so that if anyone in the queue was passed by this driver they can also have the similar warm glow that we had in setting the police on him.

14 thoughts on “Satisfaction”

  1. Likewise on the iPhone 3G. It's been an utter farce on O2, CPW and Apple's part…Good for you for shopping that tailgating moron. I hope they throw the book at him…


  2. Yep! Unless you (or more probably your crew mate) is asked to give a formal (sworn) statement then no further action (other than a police caution) can be administered.

  3. Our training says little more than if we cause an accident because of our blue light driving (not involving us per se, but someone sees us and swerves into another driver) then we a partly to blame for that accident.As for red lights…

    I honestly don't know – you are kind of stuck between going through the red light (*safely*) or possibly falling foul of 'impeding an emergency vehicle'. Either could land you in trouble.

    Me? I go through the red, and if I get a letter through the door fining me I'll ask for it to be seen by a magistrate – I'd have a good chance of persuading them that it was a reasonable action for me to take.

    I suppose that it could really do with some sort of official/highway code clarification.

  4. For drivers like that I normally console myself with the thought that I may well be seeing them later, in a professional capacity if you know what I mean…

  5. So would I.Not an expert but wouldn't it probably just be warning though… police didn't see it and it just becomes a case of your word against his when (if) he denies it?

    Maybe if someone reading the blog was there you'll get corroboration and can make sure he's fined.

  6. Something that came to mind whilst reading this – if you were sat at a red traffic light with camera and an emergency vehicle came up behind you, would you go through the light (and therefore risk points + fine), or remain where you were and hold up the vehicle? I'm sure I heard a story of someone being prosecuted for pulling forward through a red light, in Bristol I think.Tom, what does your training say about this situation?


  7. Craig,I know you asked to Tom's thoughts but with my experience of driving an ambulance i thought i might be able to help answer your question. As part of our training we were taught us to ask ourselves several questions after each blue light drive, one of which was “did i cause anyone to do anything that they didn't want to do?” (in reality i stopped asking myself the questions as soon as i was let loose on the road)

    If you pull through a red light to get out of the way of an emergency vehicle on blue lights you do so through choice/at your own risk. If you get “t-boned” by a car as you go through a red light, it'd be your fault. I think you'd have to be unlucky to get a fine/points (as the camera flashed the resulting photo would show the ambulance and we're given special treatment, to a point, to allow us to go through red lights) but we'd need a police bod to clarify that.

    On the other hand if you don't get out of the way the language of the ambulance crew would probably be as blue as the lights…. 😉

  8. Good. I once was passed on a winding road by an idiot racing way too fast. A few more turns, and he was stopped at the side of the road, with a police cruiser behind him. Made my day.

  9. Here in Australia it is an offence to go through a red traffic light to make way for an emergency vehicle:

    I can't find the website anymore, but recently a bloke got fined for crossing the lights to move out of the way from an emergency vehicle – and appealing to the police didn't help either.

    It's an interesting site in the city: An ambulance speeding from red light to red light, stopping at the end of every line of traffic and flipping it's lights and sirens off. Green light, and it flips 'em back on again.

    Strange, but true.

  10. I've been in this situation. There was enough room at the junction for me to pull out/over sufficiently to let the ambulance past without moving into the flow of cross traffic so I did. I think you have to make a judgement call as to whether you can do it safely.

  11. In an attempt to show a silver lining, at least most of the traffic moved out of your way. As I think I've mentioned previously I don't hear sirens (worked evenings/nights lived opposite A&E with Police and Fire stations within 500 yards), but I still move out of the way quicker than any of my French fellow road users (mirrors aren't just for applying lippy!). My language is often as blue as the ambo drivers' yelling at the twit just in front of, or behind me to “move over you ffing twunt, it could be your Gran”. Mind you as soon as the ambulance has passed it's like watching wacky races as everyone jostles for pole position at its tailgate. Response times are the only thing our govt seem to judge the ambulance service by, if th same criteria were applied to France, it's health system wouldn't look as good.j

  12. I wonder if he was a lawyer? I've heard them called 'ambulance chasers' -maybe he took it too literally…

  13. I believe (well have been reliably informed) that the fine has been increase to 1000 as of last December. Its such a shame we can't all be there to see his face if it is followed up…..

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