Today’s question relates to a notice posted by Ambulance Victoria that you can see here:
The question is are:
… if an ambulance is to;
1) Find and somehow fit into a parking spot to comply with council by laws, in narrow city parking spots, [and]
2) This parking spot is 500m down the road, far enough away that would cause a substantial delay in response to a life threatening event if a crew is dispatched while picking up food or a coffee, is the potential for this event occurring considered ‘reasonable for the rules not to apply’ to park in a no standing zone or is the only alternative to either not pick up coffee/food or if in a dual crewed vehicle, have 1 person enter and pay for both individuals while the other waits in the vehicle a distance away in case?
The Road Safety Road Rules 2017 (Vic) says at r 307
A provision of Part 12 [Restrictions on Stopping and Parking] does not apply to the driver of a police vehicle, emergency vehicle, enforcement vehicle or escort vehicle if, in the circumstances—
(a) the driver is taking reasonable care; and
(b) it is reasonable that the provision should not apply.
An emergency vehicle includes ‘a vehicle operated by or on behalf of and under the control of— (i) an ambulance service …’ (see What is a vehicle that is ‘operated by or on behalf of and under the control’ of Ambulance Victoria? (July 21, 2017)). So the ambulance crew can park there if they are taking reasonable care and it’s reasonable not to apply the provision.
The sign in question refers to a ‘no standing’ zone. A driver can stop in a ‘no standing’ zone. I’m not sure what a ‘no standing’ zone is as the Victorian rules refer to ‘no stopping’ (r 167) and ‘no parking’ (r 168), not ‘no standing’. The sign shown (a black ‘S’ with a red circle and a red line through it) is a ‘no stopping’ sign (Road Safety Road Rules 2017 (Vic) Sch 2). Rule 167 says ‘A driver must not stop on a length of road or in an area to which a no stopping sign applies’. The penalty is ‘three penalty units’. Presumably areas are designated as ‘no stopping’ for a reason.
Is it any more reasonable to let an ambulance stop in a no stopping zone to collect lunch than say a vet, or a doctor, or any one of a myriad of other professions? I suppose it’s an argument you could make but I don’t think any court would accept it (see Victorian police car stopped in a ‘no-stopping’ zone whilst officer eats lunch (November 29, 2014) for a more detailed discussion).
In short, I very much doubt that anyone would accept that getting food was sufficient excuse to justify parking an ambulance in a no stopping area. The signs correct. If you are not attending to a case, you need to comply with the road rules.