Ambulance vehicles covering Shropshire crashed once every 27,000 miles

By Rory Smith | Health | Published:

Fleet vehicles from the ambulance service covering Shropshire were involved in a crash every 27,000 miles, at a cost of more than £160,000 during 2018.

Over the course of the year, there were 844 recorded collisions involving marked and unmarked vehicles from West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS), which travelled in excess of 23,000,000 miles, a Freedom Of Information request has revealed.

The service spent a total of £164,584.02 repairing the damage, which was more than a 50 per cent decrease on the year prior, when it spent £345,527.75 paying for the damage incurred from 888 collisions. This compares to 2016 when 586 incidents totalled £151,445.43.

A WMAS spokesperson said: "Driving on blue lights is inherently dangerous which is why all of our emergency staff undergo dedicated training to ensure the risks are minimised as much as possible.

"There is a robust follow up process for all accidents, appropriate actions are taken and learnings rolled into our accident reduction initiatives.

"The vast majority of incidents involving our operational fleet are at slow speed and involve minimal damage. However, we acknowledge that one accident is one too many and our staff are provided with refresher training when required.

"We only use blue lights when a patient is in need of our services, so we would always ask drivers who see blue lights or hear sirens to be aware of where the vehicle is going and act accordingly."

The Freedom Of Information request also revealed a breakdown of driving offences committed by staff while on duty but not responding to emergencies.

In 2018, the service recorded 31 speeding offences, 20 parking offences and six cases of driving in bus lanes. In 2017 there were 25 speeding offences, 12 parking offences and eight incidents of driving in bus lanes.

WMAS said if a member of staff receives a driving offence while driving a trust vehicle that is not responding to emergency calls, the fine is passed on to the individual and the trust does not pay the fine or act on behalf of the driver.

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley, Telford.

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