QLD Do Emergency Vehicles (Ambulance) have a Speed Limit?

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1 May 2015
The Transport Operation Act 1995 classes excessive speed as 40kph above the regulated speed limit. Does this mean that emergency vehicles are not allowed, whilst travelling to an emergency (lights & siren) to travel above the 40kph limit?

An example: An ambulance is dispatched to a serious single vehicle road traffic accident with multiple patients with serious injuries. The accident is approx 60 km away, along a State highway with the registered speed limit of 100kph. The ambulance was recorded by the communication tracking system at travelling at 155 kph. Road conditions are dry, perfect visibility, straight road, very light traffic.

Is the driver of the vehicle at fault, or is the excess speed classification come into effect if there is an incident whilst driving?

Many thanks.


LawConnect (LawTap) Verified
27 May 2014
What is the reason for the query?

Someone's life may be in immediate danger and need urgent medical assistance. The driver may need to use his judgement as to what represents the most danger, travelling fast or arriving too slowly to save someone life.

Check out the Queensland road rules, probably something in there.

Tim W

LawConnect (LawTap) Verified
28 April 2014
I am a lawyer in NSW, not Queensland, so factor that in
when deciding how much notice to take of this post.

That said, allow me to offer the following suggestions:
  1. When questions of service discipline or professional conduct
    arise from on-duty driving, then it may be helpful to consult your union
    for assistance.

  2. The general speed limits apply to emergency vehicles as well,
    unless the provisions of Australian Road Rule 306 apply.
    In Queensland, Rule 306 is given legal effect by part 306 of the
    Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Road Rules) Regulation 2009 (Qld).
    In a criminal proceeding (such as a TIN for excessive speed, or a charge of dangerous driving),
    the onus is on the infringed/ accused to show that Rule 306 applied to them.

  3. The QAS, like all employers, has an inherent power to control and direct ("make rules about")
    how its vehicles are used.
    So, if some middle manger has a problem with how an AO drove, and it was in some way
    contrary to procedure/ doctrine/whatever, then looking into it can be fair enough.