Firefighting vehicles allowed to run red lights

For the SCDF, only ambulances are currently exempted from laws under the Road Traffic Act. But from June 1, other vehicles will also be exempted.
For the SCDF, only ambulances are currently exempted from laws under the Road Traffic Act. But from June 1, other vehicles will also be exempted.PHOTO: ST FILE

U-turns at non-designated junctions can also be made when rushing to emergencies

Drivers should keep a watchful eye out for emergency vehicles from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) rushing to emergencies as more of them will be allowed to drive through red traffic lights and make U-turns at non-designated junctions from today.

Currently, only SCDF ambulances are exempted from laws under the Road Traffic Act, which define an officer's duty to comply with traffic directions and signs.

But this exemption will also apply now to SCDF fire engines, Red Rhino fire trucks and fire-medical vehicles responding to emergencies, the organisation said in a statement yesterday.

Officers operating these emergency vehicles must comply with SCDF procedures to ensure the safety of road users and personnel.

For instance, an SCDF emergency vehicle driver who intends to drive past a red light or make a U-turn at a non-designated junction must activate sirens and lights to alert other road users.

When approaching a traffic junction, the driver must slow down and come to a complete stop to assess the traffic situation before proceeding further. But other road users should also be civic-minded and give way to emergency vehicles. SCDF said: "In a medical emergency, every minute saved can improve health outcomes for the patient."

It reminded road users who hear or see approaching SCDF emergency vehicles to slow down and give way to the vehicles by signalling early and filtering towards the left. If it is unsafe to move towards the left, drivers should slow down to let the emergency vehicle overtake them.

 
 

At traffic light junctions, drivers should give way to the emergency vehicles even if the lights are in their favour.

SCDF reminded drivers not to obstruct, outrun or tailgate an emergency vehicle as this can endanger themselves and other road users.

They should also not break traffic rules to give way to an emergency vehicle.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2019, with the headline 'Firefighting vehicles allowed to run red lights'. Print Edition | Subscribe