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Hey drivers, sirens and lights mean move!

MARTHA MODEEN; The News Tribune
Last updated: January 19th, 2005 09:48 AM

If you're driving down the road and hear a police, fire or ambulance siren, you're supposed to pull to the right and let the emergency vehicles pass. Ditto for seeing the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle.
But some Washington drivers refuse to give up their places on the road. Others look in the rearview mirror, turn up the radio or squeeze behind emergency vehicles to get through traffic faster, police officials said Tuesday in Olympia.

The punishment for those drivers could become a whole lot tougher.

A proposed penalty could bring a maximum $5,000 fine and a year in jail - a substantial increase from the current $101 ticket.

Sen. Jim Honeyford (R-Sunnyside) is pushing to raise the penalties. One of his constituents was stuck with a ruptured aorta in an ambulance when obstinant drivers made it difficult to pass.

The bill has the support of Tacoma Police. Officers remember all too well that one of their own was killed last April when a driver pulled out and turned left, rather than stopping upon hearing an emergency siren.

Officer Jim Lewis, a 19-year veteran, was en route to help another officer make a traffic stop in South Tacoma when he crashed his motorcycle into the turning car.

"When you're in a police car with lights and siren going, it's extremely frustrating to find some drivers don't pull over to the right," said Mark Fulghum, police spokesman. "These are lessons you learn Day One in driver's ed."

Senate Bill 5038 has bipartisan support, and also appears to have the backing of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It could head to the House Judiciary or Criminal Justice & Corrections committees, where lawmakers have said they'll take a look at it.

"We need to increase this from $101 to something a lot more severe," said Adam Kline (D-Seattle), Senate Judiciary chairman.

California imposes a $1,000 fine and Texas has a $500 fine for failing to yield to emergency vehicles, lawmakers were told.

Kline said he was incredulous when he heard that some drivers even flipped off ambulances.

"A less than five-finger wave? To me that's evidence of negligence," he said.

The impetus behind the proposed law is John Cullen, 56, of Outlook, Yakima County. In June 2003, he collapsed on a golf course with what he thought was a heart attack. He was sent to a hospital in Kennewick, where doctors discovered a tear in his aorta. He was then taken to another hospital in Richland, Benton County, when his ambulance driver encountered drivers who would not budge.

"I was out of blood, out of pulse and out of time," Cullen recalled.

SB 5038 also would require drivers on a four-lane highway to give more room for a stopped police car or other emergency vehicles.

Lawmakers are considering radio ads to encourage drivers to get out of the way - similar to the "Click It or Ticket" ads that encouraged drivers to buckle their seat belts. Martha Modeen: 360-786-1826

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Hopefully they can shoot you on site.

metrowestblues";p="53619 said:
Anyone know what the fine is in Mass. for not pulling over?! Whatever it is, it is probably not high enough....
 

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metrowestblues";p="53619 said:
Anyone know what the fine is in Mass. for not pulling over?! Whatever it is, it is probably not high enough....
When I went thru the academy our Ch. 90 instructor was a Deputy Chief Inspector at the RMV (prior to merger with MSP). He taught us that ONLY FD had the legal right of way with sirens/lights. He taught us that the law for LE use of the lights/siren were that they were "requesting" the right of way and failure to yield did NOT break any laws.

I'm sure that many will disagree with this, but I distinctly recall that he showed us the exact wording of the laws and the discrepancy.
 

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considering your age, that was back in the day of horse drwn carriages..when you had to walk 15 feet in front of the cart with a lantern...I'm sure much has changed since then.
:twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

LenS";p="53631 said:
metrowestblues";p="53619 said:
Anyone know what the fine is in Mass. for not pulling over?! Whatever it is, it is probably not high enough....
When I went thru the academy our Ch. 90 instructor was a Deputy Chief Inspector at the RMV (prior to merger with MSP). He taught us that ONLY FD had the legal right of way with sirens/lights. He taught us that the law for LE use of the lights/siren were that they were "requesting" the right of way and failure to yield did NOT break any laws.

I'm sure that many will disagree with this, but I distinctly recall that he showed us the exact wording of the laws and the discrepancy.
 

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Chapter 89: Section 7 Right of way of fire engines, patrol vehicles and ambulances; obstruction; penalties ---- willfull obstruction ---- Criminal Citation

Section 7. The members and apparatus of a fire department while going to a fire or responding to an alarm, police patrol vehicles and ambulances, and ambulances on a call for the purpose of hospitalizing a sick or injured person shall have the right of way through any street, way, lane or alley. Whoever wilfully obstructs or retards the passage of any of the foregoing in the exercise of such right shall be punished by a fine of fifty dollars or by imprisonment for not more than three months for the first offense and by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment for up to one year for a second and subsequent offenses; provided, however, that for a third or subsequent offense the court or the registry of motor vehicles, in addition to any such fine or imprisonment, may suspend the license of the person so convicted and may order mandatory classroom retraining in motor vehicle and traffic laws.


Chapter 89: Section 7A Restrictions on use of ways upon approach of emergency vehicles ---- obstruction ---- $100 civil fine

Section 7A. Upon the approach of any fire apparatus, police vehicle, ambulance or disaster vehicle which is going to a fire or responding to call, alarm or emergency situation, every person driving a vehicle on a way shall immediately drive said vehicle as far as possible toward the right-hand curb or side of said way and shall keep the same at a standstill until such fire apparatus, police vehicle, ambulance or disaster vehicle has passed.
 

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SOT_II";p="53632 said:
considering your age, that was back in the day of horse drwn carriages..when you had to walk 15 feet in front of the cart with a lantern...I'm sure much has changed since then.
:twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
Man are you ever cruel!! :evil:

I'm not THAT old, but I am old enough to be your Father!
 

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DFC,

It looks like they must have changed the law within the last 20+ years.

For that I am glad, but most drivers are totally clueless on what they legally MUST do and ignore the lights/sirens.

I'm a firm believer in RMV providing the MV law booklets with renewal DLs, AND retesting maybe every 10 years. Lots of MV laws have changed in the 40 years that I've had a DL, but we never get updates on them as civilians.
 

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The problem with this offense is a practical one. Who's got time to engage in the process of gigging the dumb-ass who fails to pull over/yield when you're going to a serious call.
:shock:
Only chance is to pull the jerk over long enough to visual the driver and record the Licence plate, then resume your oddysey, or perhaps radio it in to dispatch while your passing the sh*thead?
:roll:
 

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CLUE:

When signaled, pull to the right and stop. That's what the emergency vehicle means: PULL TO THE RIGHT AND STOP!!!!

If you don't (CT operators please note: no pulling to the left...49 states and X number of Canadian provinces are wrong, and you are right :shock: ): $100 for the left lane violation, plus added fines for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle AND failure to move to the RIGHT!

It does not mean move into the adjacent lane and slow: It means pull to the right and STOP!

For those of you from the "parking lots" of New York City: CT and NJ...the lines on the road mean something and are not for you to drive across as you would in a parking lot :shock: ! You stink as drivers, followed by the NYC people, so expect to get a major league GIG here in MA!

The left lane is a "passing lane", not a "travel lane".: if your speed is not +15 MPH relative to the target vehicle, GET OUT OF THE LEFT LANE!
 

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If the FD/Ambulance is experiencing significant problems with right of way violators, a little planning can work on addressing the issue.

An example. The fire chief in a community I worked in complained of having the problem of drivers failing to yield.

We set up the following.

1. A police unit was dispatched to the scene of the incident as usual.
2. A second unit would respond to the FD. (as it was a call/vol fd there was usually a 5+ min lag from time of call to the time that a engine or amb would roll)
3. The second police unit would respond with the FD with the intended purpose citing right of way violators.

Did this for about 6 weeks. About 40 cits were written and some press coverage was given. --- problem reduced dramatically.

By the way common sense did prevail. Based on the nature of the call and/or the size-up of the first responding officer police units went directly to the incident and not to the FD.
 

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texdep";p="53704 said:
If the FD/Ambulance is experiencing significant problems with right of way violators, a little planning can work on addressing the issue.

An example. The fire chief in a community I worked in complained of having the problem of drivers failing to yield.

We set up the following.

1. A police unit was dispatched to the scene of the incident as usual.
2. A second unit would respond to the FD. (as it was a call/vol fd there was usually a 5+ min lag from time of call to the time that a engine or amb would roll)
3. The second police unit would respond with the FD with the intended purpose citing right of way violators.

Did this for about 6 weeks. About 40 cits were written and some press coverage was given. --- problem reduced dramatically.

By the way common sense did prevail. Based on the nature of the call and/or the size-up of the first responding officer police units went directly to the incident and not to the FD.
Good idea!
 

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mpd61";p="53688 said:
The problem with this offense is a practical one. Who's got time to engage in the process of gigging the dumb-ass who fails to pull over/yield when you're going to a serious call.
:shock:
Only chance is to pull the jerk over long enough to visual the driver and record the Licence plate, then resume your oddysey, or perhaps radio it in to dispatch while your passing the sh*thead?
:roll:
I agree! Call it in.. then mail them the gig.
 

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I agree! Call it in.. then mail them the gig
Using the RMVweb screen will help you identify owner/operator by photo.

When clearing an MV Stop during heavy traffic periods, I will keep my lights on as the motorist and I return to the travel lane. I've written plenty of gigs for people who insist on trying to force their way past me.
 
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