Wednesday, 25 February 2004

Questions (123)

Paul Connaughton

Question:

210 Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Transport if a member of the fire brigade who is driving a fire appliance going to or from a fire or other such emergencies will be liable for penalty points if the speed limit is exceeded; the position if such a member is involved in a traffic accident; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6196/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport)

Regulations made under the Road Traffic Acts exempt the drivers of ambulances, fire brigade vehicles and Garda Síochána vehicles, while being used in the course of duty, from all speed limits with the exception of the motorway speed limit. Therefore, save in respect of a breach of the motorway speed limit, drivers of such emergency service vehicles cannot be charged with an offence of exceeding a speed limit and accordingly penalty points do not arise.

However, all drivers on the public roads are required under regulations to observe a general obligation regarding speed which requires that a vehicle shall not be driven at a speed exceeding that which will enable its driver to bring it to a halt within the distance which the driver can see to be clear.

The question of the determination of the causes and contributory factors of a traffic accident, including decisions on the charging of any road user involved in an accident with an offence under the Road Traffic Acts, is a matter for the investigating member of the Garda Síochána.