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Posted by portugalpress on October 12, 2018

A purportedly ridiculous state of affairs that sees ambulance drivers fined for speeding to emergencies is being highlighted today, with the added ‘aggravation’ that if the drivers don’t present a defence, “paid for out of their own pockets”, they risk losing points on their licences which they need in order to keep their jobs.

Tabloid Correio da Manhã claims fines are already being sent to the homes of drivers of VMER (first response reanimation vehicles) who have been caught on radars at various points of the country.

The situation results from an administrative ‘muddle’ that follows a change of protocol over how ambulances are dealt with after being caught on speed cameras.

In the past, INEM (the national medicines authority) dealt with everything - meaning the situations were almost always ‘archived’.

But since the beginning of this year, INEM no longer receives notice of ambulance speeding infractions. They are meant to be dealt with by the hospitals for which the ambulances are working - which doesn’t in fact explain why the fines are apparently “being sent to the homes of VMER drivers” themselves.

Suffice it to say, ANSR - the national road safety authority that issues the fines - says it is up to INEM to resolve this mess which in worst case scenarios could see drivers fined up to €300 as well as losing points off their licences which are “indispensable” for their continued employment.

According to CM, just this week ambulance crews attached to hospitals in Almada, Famalicão, Guarda, the Medio Tejo and even Portimão “have been notified to pay fines that could reach €300”.