London, 1 Sep 2003.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

ABD Incredulous at Fire Engine Speed Limits
The Association of British Drivers has responded with incredulity to speed limits being imposed on fire engines in the West Midlands by fire chiefs.
From September West Midlands fire engines en route to an incident will have to stay under 45 in 30 zones, and under 80 on the motorway.
A particular irony in the situation is that over recent years many former 60mph limits have been reduced to 30. Under the new rules fire engines will have to stick to 45mph on their way to a fire, when only a few years ago they would have driven at nearly 60 on the way back.
ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries said:
"It is hard to imagine anything more stupid than training an emergency driver to drive safely and fast - and then imposing a meaningless and arbitrary speed limit for the sake of "safety".
Now, as well as watching the road, the traffic, and concentrating on his life saving mission, the fireman is expected to keep an eye on the speedometer. Just in case the fire chief behind is planning disciplinary action for "speeding" to a house on fire, with persons reported inside.
A few short years ago, rules like this would have only been encountered in the script of a Monty Python style farce. That such rules are now to be enforced is a frightening indication of the extent to which Political Correctness has infected senior officialdom, even in the fire service.
There is a frightening parallel to be drawn with a recent London ambulance service denunciation of speed humps. LAS says that more people die from delays to ambulances than are claimed to be saved by speed humps — how long will it be before we hear that more people have died in fires as a result of the delays in attending incidents, than would ever have been saved from accidents involving fire engines?
A sombre Brian Gregory, the ABD's chairman said
"This is quite unbelievable, utterly crass, and is likely to be the direct cause of deaths. We hope that this action by the West Midlands Fire Service will not start a trend amongst brigades in other parts of the country."


Notes for Editors