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Is it legal for emergency services to jump red lights?
Whether a police car, ambulance or fire engine, if they are using their siren and/or flashing lights would they get a ticket for jumping the lights?

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Orla C
It's perfectly legal for the emergency services to jump red lights if they are acting in an emergency. In fact, if the siren is on and the lights are flashing, you are obliged to move your vehicle out of their way.

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It is legal. Emergency services have right-of-way in all cases (Red lights, stop signs, yield, etc.). That is why, when you hear an emergency siren, you are supposed to pull over immediately. Even if it is not coming up from behind you, it may be about to breeze through the intersection that you have a green light for.

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No, it is not legal. The drivers of all emergency vehicles responding to an emergency call are subject to the same traffic regulations as everyone else is. They do get tickets for failing to conform to automatic traffic signals and activating speed cameras.

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John W
An emergency vehicle has the right under law to treat red lights as "Give way" signs when on route to an emergency with lights and/or Sirens going...
They are NOT given tickets for this for obvious reasons..

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Problem Child
Not only is it legal, your failure to yield is grounds for a traffic summons, a moving violation. Yes, emergency vehicles have to operate with "due Regard" meaning they can't drive right through at 100 MPH. They have to slow down or stop and prodede only when safe to do so.
For the record, here in NYS, as it is in many states, police vehicles do not need lights/sirens on to break the traffic laws, like passing a red signal. Also, fire trucks can use lights and sirens when returning from an alarm (going back to fire house) this is allowed so that they can return to their response area in a timely manner. If another alarm comes in, they need to be in the area. Unlike the police, who have many cars available, their is usally only one fire truck for a given area and if it is gone, well.... So they allow them to get back as quickly as possible. In theory though, they do not do it, unless they are traveling a great distance, like here in NYC where they may be relocating halfway accross the city.

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the only vehicle that can go through a red light legally is a royal mail vehicle

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I can only reply in relation to the police but if not the same it will be very similar for all blue light responders.

There are exceptions in law that allow the police not to comply with traffic signals or the speed limit.

In reality this exception exists at all times even without blue lights on or when responding to a non emergency call. The law simply states 'for a police purpose'. This is what allows for police to be trained on 'real' roads when not responding to calls.

However...... The risk involved in exceeding the speed limit and not complying with traffic signals results in officers being told when they can and cant 'blue light'. If you 'blue light' without good reason then despite the exception in law you may still be disciplined.

Its also worth noting that despite the exceptions allowed emergency drivers are still expected to drive to a safe standard. i.e. red lights should be treated as give way. They can still be prosecuted with dangerous driving!

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FSM Raguru AM™
No, why on Earth would they? That is the purpose of the lights and siren in the first place. So that when they go through red lights and high traffic areas people can see them and stop to let them go by. Theoretically, they never run red lights because they are always on duty. If it is not an emergency, it is probably illegal, but good luck proving they weren't in the middle of running to a call.

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Yes it is legal, but the driver must use due care and if an accident occurs then the driver, like any other can be prosecuted.

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Mr Abba
No they wouldnt because they are in a emergency situation.

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max m
It seems that a lot of people give conflicting answers on this. I suspect that the reason for this is that there are different rules in different countries. It would help if the asker and the answerers specified which countries they were talking about - or for Yahoo not to mix up everyone, just because it is in English.

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Robert G

As long as an emergency vehicle has it's red and blue lights actively flashing while it goes through any intersection, all other traffic is supposed to give it the right of way.

Fact is, though, if there is a life- or limb-saving emergency involved, anybody can drive through a red-light, and even if you wind up getting a ticket, you go to court, and provide evidence of the emergency, and no judge in the world would find a person guilty enough to impose any kind of penalty like a fine.

Vehicles with red and or blue flashing lights on top are simply the kinds of vehicles that have been prepared to become just that much more conspicuous so that in such an emergency they will be just that much less likely to get into a collision while crossing against a red light at some intersection.

Which is what red and blue flashing lights are all about, in the first place.

However, they are NOT supposed to use theri flashing lights and sirens unless there is an actual emergency for them to be driving to.

If some ambulance driver just doesn't like the traffic between him and his favorite lunch spot, and he turns on his lights to make others let him get there faster, he CAN get a very big huge ticket for abusing his emergency lights.

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only in an emergency, and they MUST be treated as a give way, any emergency vehicle hitting another vehicle while jumping a red light, the driver will be charged, like i said, it must be treated as a give way and the emergency vehicle has to make sure its ok to proceed, in the UK anyway
additional, WHY would some one give my answer the thumbs down when its absolute fact . . . . some sad sad people on here

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joan k
Yes in an emergency and if it's safe to do so, but they are legally liable if they hit another vehicle.

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Ben Gunn
If any Royal Mail drivers are reading this page, make sure you know the difference between a red light and a turnpike (which ended 200 years ago).

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No because i remember when my nana collapsed most people let the ambulace past its what your sposed to do . good question

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Its perfectly legal - which is good since no one wants to be laying on the ground with blood spilling around them and no help is available because the emergency services are held up at the lights!

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they have every right to run a red light with sirens on . When emergency calls, they must answer.

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Any red light is treated as a give way (as stated by a couple of others). Only if the way is clear and it is safe to do so will an emergency vehicle cross through the lights, this would only happen when running on Blues.

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under the road traffic act there is no carte blanche for drivers of emergency vehicles to disregard traffic signals, however in an emergency situation they are instructed to treat red lights as a 'give way' sign

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in a word no, they are open to the same rules as any other road user and if involved in a accident could be prosecuted

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is this a serious question?

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English Angel
Yes it's legal for them but if you jump a light to let any of the emergency services though you can get points on your licence and a fine

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I think an Abuklance and the police can. But I would not stand on ceremony with any emergency vehicle.

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Emergency vehicles have Home Office dispensation to regard red traffic lights as Give Way signs in cases of emergency.

If, in the event of doing so, an accident occurs, they are as liable as any other motorist would be in that situation. The fact that they were on an urgent call would not be accepted as a line of defence.

In the UK, there are no magic switches that change the lights, they were suggested and trialed years ago but found to be ineffective.

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Happy Murcia
Yes quite legal if on an emergency callout,,

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Ivan The Terrible
yes its legal..theyre supposed to do it

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It is legal for them to jump the red light.

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Yes its legal. If I am lying on the ground bleeding to death, I dont want the police, fire trucks or EMS waiting for a red light to turn green.

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Yes, when responding to emergencies,but only when it is safe to do so.

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Ian UK
We get issued with tickets the same as anyone else, we're not above the law.

However, if we show that our actions were conducted in the course of our duty and within our relevant driving authority (not all officers can drive with lights and sirens) then the ticket is revoked.

Also bear in mind that an officer doesn't have to use lights and sirens when jumping lights but its best practice to do so. However, when doing so, the junction has to be treated as a give way for users crossing on green lights.

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