The provisions of this title shall not apply to vehicles when operated with due regard for safety, under the direction of police officers in the chase or apprehension of violators of the law or of persons charged with or suspected of any such violation, nor to Fire Department or fire patrol vehicles when traveling in response to a fire alarm, nor to public ambulances when traveling in emergencies. This exemption shall not, however, protect the driver of any such vehicle from the consequences of a reckless disregard of the safety of others. (1988 Code § 8.08)