IAA welcomes CPS changes on emergency ambulance driving

Wednesday, 22 May, 2013


The Independent Ambulance Association today (22 May 2013) welcomed the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service to change its guidance on charging offences arising from incidents concerning drivers in emergencies.

Announcing the change, Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: "If a driver was responding to an emergency and took proper care, a prosecution is very unlikely to be in the public interest, but nothing in this guidance excuses recklessness or taking unjustifiable risks."

In cases involving drivers in emergencies, prosecutors will consider:

  • The nature of the emergency known to or reasonably perceived by the driver. For example, whether the driver was responding to a 999 call in compliance with the agreed operating practice in that service;
  • The level of culpability of the driver (including the nature of the driving); and
  • Whether there is evidence the driver may be a continuing danger to others. For example, such evidence may include relevant convictions or internal disciplinary proceedings against the driver.

The change followed a campaign by police and fire organisations as well as the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives and the IAA.

David Davis, Director, IAA said: “The change is long overdue and will be welcome by independent ambulance companies which provide A&E support for the NHS during periods of peak demand and also undertake the emergency transport of human organs for transplant operations.”

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