Ask the Police. “I always see the Police speeding around without their lights and siren on, can they do that and why”?
Police Officers are exempt from traffic laws when it comes to responding to emergencies in the course of their duties.
The public may at times have the misconception that the Police are misusing their position when they see them over driving; perhaps in rare cases this may be true. The truth is, Officers understand the consequences and dangers but most importantly the injuries that excessive speed can cause, also the liability and legal responsibility if used improperly and not in the course of their duties.
There are many things that can happen during an emergency call such as being told by the Police dispatcher to cancel the call or other Officers who are closer will tell the primary Police unit they will take over the call.
This is why you will see an Officer driving fast with lights and siren, go through a red light and speed around other cars then all of a sudden slow down and begin to drive normal.
Because of tactical or safety reasons there are many urgent situations that do not require lights and siren but require the Officer to drive as quickly as possible. For example, an Officer responding to a Bank robbery in progress would drive as fast as he could safely and as silently as possible to not alert the Bank robbers and create a possible hostage situation.
An Officer, who causes an accident due to over driving, carelessness or thoughtlessness, could be held liable if it is not in the course of an emergency. For example, an Officer on routine patrol is driving down the street and does not see a stop sign, fails to stop and collides with another car. In this case, the Officer is no different from any other driver and will be accountable for failing to stop at a posted stop sign.
On the other hand, a vehicle who fails to yield to a Police vehicle that is responding with lights and siren could be held accountable if an accident occurs for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.
If the public has a concern about an Officer over driving and whether or not a he is responding to an emergency call, they are welcome to call the Police station for verification.
I believe that most people will agree that if they call the Police they would want the Police to get there safely but as quickly as possible.