VIP Vehicles not to Over Speed / Use Beacon Lights

Over speeding by VIP vehicles is illegal

Over speeding of official vehicles of Very Important Personalities (VIPs), such as ministers or other public functionaries, piloted by police vehicles without observing speed limit or other traffic regulations is impermissible in law.

This practice makes the roads a lawless land with no element of rule of law. The sad story is that the police which is expected enforce rule of law is violating the law in a brazen manner when they pilot the official vehicles with total disregard for law of the land.

The people in general believe that the vehicles of VIPs and police have the right to cross the speed limit, use beacon lights and go piloted by police vehicle in total negation of traffic laws.

The traffic laws and regulations do not give the VIPs no special privilege over an ordinary citizen while using motor vehicles.

VIPs have no permission to use beacon lights

The following three categories of vehicles designated for emergency & disaster management duties will only be allowed to use the multi coloured red, blue and white light on their top. This has been notified as per the Central Government Notification No 1374 ( E ) dated 1st May 2017.

The vehicles engaged in the following three categories of duties are allowed to use beacon light and those categories are:

  • Duties relating to control of fire
  • Duties by police, defence forces or paramilitary forces for maintenance of law and order
  • Duties relating to management of natural disasters including earthquake, flood, land slide, cyclone, tsunami and manmade disasters including nuclear disaster, chemical disaster and biological disaster.

The above notification was issued in pursuance of Rule 108 (4) of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989. Since then, no VIP are permitted to use beacon light on their vehicles.

All police vehicles cannot use beacon light

The multi coloured light will not be used when the vehicle is not on the designated duty. Even the police vehicles can use beacon light when are on on emergency service.

The transport department of the state government has also been directed to issue a public notice to make the general public aware of the type of vehicles allowed to use the coloured beacons. Such vehicles should also have a sticker issued by the transport department.

Ambulance & emergency vehicles have priority

Similarly, the Motor Vehicles (Driving) Regulations, 2017 in its clause 27 states as follows: –

The driver of a vehicle designated by the State Government for emergency services under sub-rule (4) of rule 108 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 including a vehicle used as ambulance or for fire-fighting or for salvage purposes or a police vehicle, shall operate the multi-toned horn (siren) and the multi-coloured light with flasher only when the vehicle is responding to an emergency call or an alarm.

An emergency vehicle, while its multi-toned horn and the flasher is on, shall have the right of way over all the other vehicles.

Emergency vehicles, but not VIPs, can exceed speed limit

In a case of utmost emergency like saving a human life, warding off serious damage to health of a person, prevent commission of a crime or damage to essential services or fight a fire, the driver of the emergency vehicle with the multi-toned horn and the multi-coloured flasher operating may, with utmost care, responsibility, and caution

  • cross a red traffic light;
  • exceed the specified speed limit;
  • drive on a highway hard shoulder; and
  • drive in either direction on a “NO ENTRY” or a “One Way” street.

The priority within the emergency vehicles as referred in sub-regulation (1) shall be as follows

  • first, a fire service vehicle;
  • second, an ambulance;
  • third, a police service vehicle; and
  • fourth, any other vehicle designated by the State Government as an emergency management vehicle such as for maintenance of essential public services like water and power supply or public transport.

Emergency vehicles have priority over others

When an emergency vehicle, with its multi-toned horn and light flasher on, is overtaking, approaching, or entering the path of any other vehicle, the person driving or riding such other vehicle shall, unless otherwise directed by a police officer-

  • yield the right of way to the emergency vehicle, by driving to the left as close as practicable to the kerb or edge of the roadway in the shortest possible time;
  • stop, if required, and remain stationary in that position until the emergency vehicle has passed.

The driver shall, unless otherwise directed by the crew of the emergency vehicle, maintain a distance of at least fifty meters from the emergency vehicle on which multi-toned horn or flasher lights or both are operating.

A road maintenance or public utility maintenance vehicle may be parked on the roadway, if necessary, after switching on the hazard warning lights and placing a warning device with necessary information at least fifty meters behind the parked vehicle, and take all other precautions to ensure safety of other road users

Further reading

  1. Circular No 15/2017 dated 28th June 2017 of the Department of Police, Government of Kerala
  2. Central Government Notification No 1374 (E ) dated 1st May 2017
  3. Motor Vehicles (Driving) Regulations, 2017