Spies to be allowed to break speed limits

Speed limit
13 Jan, 2014 4:49pm Chris Ebbs

Members of MI5 and MI6, mountain rescue and bomb disposal units to be exempt from speed limits

Changes to motoring laws will allow members of the MI5, MI6, mountain rescue, bomb disposal units and vehicles used to carry organs for transplant to speed for the first time.

Currently these services have to abide to speed limits on UK roads – even if they are dealing with issues involving national security.

However, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Robert Goodwill is set to give these groups the same exemptions as police, ambulance and fire services.

They will be able to break the speed limit once they have completed a training course in high-speed driving.

The exemptions could also include workers for HM Revenue and Customs as well as UK Border Agency Officials.

The changes have come about following a Department for Transport consultation in to the idea. It found that 93 per cent of people that responded to the consultation felt that the exemption should also apply to groups involved in "the protection of life and limb or national security".

Just last month, a Freedom of Information request by the Scottish Conservatives showed that the Scottish Ambulance Service had been issued with more than 2200 speeding tickets in the past two years. Between January and August 2013, 1062 speeding tickets were issued to the ambulance service, meaning four ambulances received tickets each day.

In order to avoid a fine, ambulance staff must fill out a form to prove they were attending an emergency at the time the vehicle was caught speeding.

A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said:" Any ticket issued to a Scottish Ambulance Service vehicle that is allocated to an emergency incident is subsequently cancelled.

"As the volume of speeding notices continues to increase, the process for cancellation of tickets is becoming more time consuming."

The Scottish Conservative's transport spokesman Alex Johnstone said: "This is a substantial administrative chore the Scottish Ambulance Service could surely do without.

"Surely common sense would dictate if an emergency service vehicle breaks the speed limit, there's a very good reason for it."