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GOOD QUESTION: Can police speed when there is no emergency?

GOOD QUESTION: Can police speed when there is no emergency?

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We see patrol cars every day. Most of the time, they’re driving along side the rest of us. But sometimes, the driver seems to have quite the heavy foot.

So that’s why Brooke Bethea asked News13, “"Is it legal for police to speed even when it's not an emergency, because I see it all the time?"

The short answer is no. Police or any other law enforcement officers are not above the law. However, there are exceptions for when they are working.

They are allowed to speed if they have an audible noise, such as sirens, while responding to a call.

They are also allowed to go fast if they are responding to an emergency or pursuing a suspicious vehicle.

If an officer is caught speeding with no legitimate reason, he can face disciplinary action from his department.

Myrtle Beach Police Capt. David Knipes said it has happened where an officer was given a ticket from another department while driving a patrol car.

The exact law pertaining to officers and the speed limit is as follows:

SECTION 56‑5‑760. Operation of authorized emergency vehicles.

(A) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle, when responding to an emergency call or when in the pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law or when responding to but not upon returning from a fire alarm, may exercise the privileges set forth in this section, but subject to the conditions of this section.

(B) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle may:

(1) park or stand, notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter;

(2) proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation;

(3) exceed the maximum speed limit if he does not endanger life or property;

(4) disregard regulations governing direction of movement or turning in specified directions.

(C) The exemptions in this section granted to an authorized emergency vehicle apply only when the vehicle is making use of an audible signal meeting the requirements of Section 56‑5‑4970 and visual signals meeting the requirements of Section 56‑5‑4700 of this chapter, except that an authorized emergency vehicle operated as a police vehicle need not use an audible signal nor display a visual signal when the vehicle is being used to:

(1) obtain evidence of a speeding violation;

(2) respond to a suspected crime in progress when use of an audible or visual signal, or both, could reasonably result in the destruction of evidence or escape of a suspect;  or

(3) surveil another vehicle or its occupants who are suspected of involvement in a crime.

(D) The provisions of this section do not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons.

(E) The Criminal Justice Academy shall promulgate regulations pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act so as to provide uniform guidelines and training programs for law enforcement agencies which use emergency vehicles.  Law enforcement agencies authorized to use emergency vehicles shall use the regulations developed by the Criminal Justice Academy to provide written guidelines and to provide training programs for its officers and employees regarding the operation of emergency vehicles.



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