"I am a medical practitioner and do emergency medical calls and sometimes am called between hospitals depending on the situation and the patient. Of late I've been caught by speed prosecution cameras exceeding a speed limit which has prompted my question.
As we are not informed of the do's and don'ts with regard to providing emergency care services, Is there a permit or licence which I may apply for to be able to exceed the speed limit under these circumstances where I need to go to another emergency medical unit? I.E. From the Union hospital to Milpark Hospital. If so, who do I contact and what documentation do I need to provide?"
Unfortunately I am not 100% aware of how the system would operate with private individuals using non-registered (emergency) vehicles. I can however provide you with an overview of what is happening in a private emergency service setting.
a. A vehicle can be registered as a specialised vehicle after it has obtained its normal roadworthy and license.
b. Once a vehicle is on the system, the vehicle will be fitted with an emergency warning system, etc. (An ambulance with a specialised conversion needs to have the SABS certificate of conversion ready as well.)
c. The vehicle will then be going through another roadworthy and listed as an emergency vehicle before it can be registered as such.
2. An emergency vehicle responding to a life threatening emergency will still be fined as per normal road users.
3. The fine will then be sent to the proxy of the company and support documentation must then be sourced to accompany the fine to the prosecutor or licensing department for consideration.
a. Vehicle tracking sheet - with evidence that the vehicle had the necessary emergency warning systems activated at the time
b. Emergency Contact Centre log - evidence that the vehicle was indeed dispatched to an emergency call
c. Vehicle Analysis Sheet or Electronic MDT report - evidence that the call was accepted by the vehicle in question with details of the crew on the vehicle during that time
d. A written report from the crew on the vehicle that they have attended an emergency
e. Other support documentation if requested
4. All of the support documentation will then be sent through and considered.
5. Should the prosecutor or traffic department uphold the infringement the staff will then be liable for the fine.
a. This happens quite often that the company needs to pay the fine or the staff member driving.
b. More often our staff need to go to court to appear for a magistrate, etc. to state why they have exceeded the speed limit, especially Bloemfontein.
c. The fine can be transferred from the company name into the staff member's personal capacity.
i. This will happen if the speed limit was exceeded in the following conditions:
1. Speed exceeded 20km/h the speed limit in an urban area
2. Speed exceeded 40km/h the speed limit on a highway or rural area
I basically provide you with all this details as we as emergency services sometimes struggle to get fines retracted, even in emergency cases.
My suggestion would be to register your vehicle as an emergency vehicle and/or obtain a written document from the hospital/employer that you are a medical practitioner on standby for that facility. This document and other documents as proof of call out should always accompany your statement to the traffic department. The sad thing is it is not always guaranteed that the fine will be retracted.
I do hope this answers some of your questions.