No waiver to ambulance drivers for speeding

MUSCAT, Feb 13 – Ambulances are not exempted from Oman’s road safety laws, including speed limits and jumping traffic signals. The clarification was made through a circular issued by the Ministry of Health to ambulance drivers in government hospitals who were slapped with fines for traffic violations. According to the circular, issued on February 6, drivers will have to pay the fines before April 19. The decision was taken in accordance with the new road safety laws that came into effect from January 2018.
“Following discussions with the Directorate General of Traffic at Royal Oman Police (ROP), it was decided that if an ambulance transporting patients in stable condition come under radar for speeding, there will not be any exemption from fines,” the circular said. This applies to transfer of patients from one hospital to another along with the medical team. Accordingly, all the ambulance drivers in the Ministry of Health will have to pay the fines before the deadline.
While calling on drivers to follow the law, the ministry said that legal proceedings will be initiated against those who fail to pay the fines.
Reacting to the decision, an official at the ROP said, “All drivers are obligated by law to adhere to the speed limit and follow the signal rules.” Emergency service drivers are not exempt the offences of dangerous and careless driving, which include speeding.
He said the circular is binding on those driving ambulances to transport patients in stable condition and there is no imminent risk to his/her life.
“Although there can be a few exemptions to a number of driving laws, this does not mean you can do whatever you want on the road as an emergency response driver. An exemption is a relaxation of driving law when the situation permits it,” he said.
Emergency drivers, including those driving ambulances, can speed but they are still responsible for their actions whilst doing so, he added.