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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2004 16:31 
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An emergency vehicle was delayed from responding to a 999 call when its paramedic driver was told to pay for using the M6 Toll motorway.
Staffordshire Ambulance Service said it would be meeting toll road bosses after the incident, at Weeford near Lichfield on Wednesday night.
An ambulance spokesman said such delays could put lives at risk.
The road's operators say the car was not "clearly liveried" and no warning was given.
Bob Lee, for the ambulance service, said the driver, wearing a paramedic uniform, was only allowed through the toll after turning on the car's blue lights.
He was driving the Vauxhall estate from Cannock to Lichfield to provide emergency cover, when he was stopped at the exit of the M6 Toll and the booth operator refused to raise the barrier.
The white emergency response vehicle was marked with green chequered stripes with a blue light bar on top and blue lights on the grill.
It was displaying a large "star of life" emblem on its bonnet and had the ambulance service's crown badge on the two front doors.
Mr Lee said all the above had been agreed with the operator of the M6 Toll, Midland Expressway Limited, as being sufficient for recognition as an ambulance vehicle.
He said the paramedic called his control centre and a senior officer telephoned the toll booth operator to explain the situation.
Mr Lee said while this was happening, the paramedic received the emergency call, but he still had to wait with his blue lights flashing before he was allowed to exit.
"It was clearly marked, clearly an ambulance vehicle, clearly going on an emergency call and yet still despite all the assurances from the toll operator this vehicle was delayed," Mr Lee said.
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"Now that potentially puts lives at risk and we're at a loss what to do.
"This is not the first time this has happened and enough is enough."
Tom Fanning managing director of the operators of the M6 Toll, Midland Expressway Limited, denied the vehicle was a clearly marked ambulance.
"Ambulances that are not clearly liveried are allowed through providing the agreed procedures are followed, in that the ambulance service control room telephones ahead to give us advance warning so that we can give them free and unhindered access," he said.
"No advance notice was given, however, after a brief discussion the vehicle, a Vauxhall Vectra estate, was given free passage."
He said a meeting had been arranged for some time between himself and the ambulance service's chief executive.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2004 22:29 
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Obviously someone hadn't taken their giude dog to work that day.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2004 22:32 
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Give someone an ounce of power and look what happens.

Almost as absurd as demoting a copper for speeding to an emergency callout and being flashed.......... :evil:

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2004 03:17 
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Unfortunately, a little power goes a long, long way. Give someone a uniform and a badge and, as history has repeatedly demonstrated, they will turn into mini-me Mussolinis overnight. You only have to watch parking attendants, grocery store security guards and the people who operate the barriers in multistory car parks to see people whose self-importance is out of all proportion to their capabilities.

Add a set of keys and a walkie talkie and they think they're God himself. Remember, concentration camp guards were just ordinary guys until they put on the uniform.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2004 10:52 
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Ryujin wrote:
Unfortunately, a little power goes a long, long way. Give someone a uniform and a badge and, as history has repeatedly demonstrated, they will turn into mini-me Mussolinis overnight. You only have to watch parking attendants, grocery store security guards and the people who operate the barriers in multistory car parks to see people whose self-importance is out of all proportion to their capabilities.

Add a set of keys and a walkie talkie and they think they're God himself. Remember, concentration camp guards were just ordinary guys until they put on the uniform.


Perhaps most of these Gods and Mussolinis are actually ordinary folks trying to earn a crust. And, in the course of their work on behalf of their employer, perhaps they have to deal with all sorts of toe-rags, arrogant twats, try-it-on types, ignorant types, loud mouths, 'I pay your wages' types and the rest. So give them a break eh?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2004 18:33 
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Perhaps they could find a way of earning a crust that doesn't involve sticking it to other ordinary people for doing nothing more than trying to go about their ordinary business whithout having their pockets picked at every turn.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2004 18:47 
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The bottom line is TOLLS ARE BAD NEWS. This just adds to the list of reasons not to have them.

We should not pay for our roads twice.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2004 20:14 
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Ryujin wrote:
Perhaps they could find a way of earning a crust that doesn't involve sticking it to other ordinary people for doing nothing more than trying to go about their ordinary business whithout having their pockets picked at every turn.


So these 'Mussolini's' are not ordinary people then? And they are exempt from paying carpark charges and suffering the inconvenience that 'ordinary' folk suffer are they? Like some Masonic Order for carpark attendants et al?

Wouldn't it be great if we didn't need all these 'facists' in uniform we could all park for free. And because we're all so trustworthy and upstanding people, stores could do without security guards or even checkout girls, we'd all drop our money in an honesty box as we left the store.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2004 23:42 
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I do not think anyone is saying all toll operators are bad but like the police, and every other profession, there are some people who let the power of their position go to their heads.

This was a marked ambulance, so even if there was a slight discrepancy in its markings or some suspicion about its authenticity, it would seem more appropriate to use discretion (now there's a word we hear regularly) and allow the vehicle to pass without delay.

If the operator felt the car might not fit the regulations a better option would be to take the registration number and have the office follow it up later. At least there would be no potentially life threatening delays while it was sorted out on the spot.

We all have a go about cameras not having discretion so why not complain when a person with discretion fails to use it appropriately.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2004 18:43 
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Quote:
"Ambulances that are not clearly liveried are allowed through providing the agreed procedures are followed, in that the ambulance service control room telephones ahead to give us advance warning so that we can give them free and unhindered access," he said.


So in effect they are admitting charging and HINDERING the course of everybody else that have every right to free and unhindered access to the road network that THEY have paid for.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2004 20:20 
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This is the car in question....looks like an emergency vehicle to me.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2004 01:07 
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Humm?

[set mode=devils-advocate]

I have only read what was on the BBC web-site/here, but...

"He was driving the Vauxhall estate from Cannock to Lichfield to provide emergency cover"

...does this mean that he was simply "driving to work"? Surely the A5 is just as quick for that journey? If he wanted to go via a nice dual carriageway, that is his choice, but obviously he must pay!

If, whilst he was arguing at the toll booth, an "emergency shout" came through, he should have been given clearance. But if he had been a stroppy git earlier, why should the toll-booth staff believe him?

[set mode=no-devils-advocate]

I guess that both sides have something to learn here, and we all need to be wary about what we read in the press!

mb


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