There have always been laws requiring regular drivers to yield to approaching emergency vehicles. Over the past 10 years or so, most states have also passed so-called “Move Over” laws in an attempt to make it safer for emergency responders stopped on the roadway. In general, these laws require drivers to either slow down or, if possible, move one lane farther over (not closer – it’s a sad state of things that I have to specify this) when passing a stopped emergency vehicle.
Several years ago, Toronto started the “Move Over… Protect Us All” campaign that covered yielding to approaching emergency vehicles as well as moving over for stopped ones. I have to admit I haven’t before seen this elaborate a public education campaign, especially on the very topic of yielding the right-of-way to emergency vehicles. The 25-minute video addresses all the stupid, selfish and inattentive ways that everyday drivers employ to make our lights-and-siren driving lives as difficult as possible, no matter how carefully we drive.
Yes, sometimes when we go on scene, it’s, “We came here for this?” But that doesn’t mean we don’t go to legitimate calls.
While I hate driving, I try not to let it bother me since most drivers are so retarded it’s not even worth it, but many emergency responders take it as a personal affront when other drivers do stupid things when we approach, and they have a point – these drivers are indeed endangering responders as well as the people who call. (Can you imagine – getting shot arresting very bad guy/getting burned pulling kid out of building vs. getting tagged by teenager texting…)
If, on average, 2 drivers per day can’t figure out that it’s not OK to drive behind the back of our rig as we’re backing into the station with a backer physically standing in the road, how can we expect them to have any semblance of sound judgment at all?
About 10 years ago, Connecticut amended a section of its vehicle code regarding emergency vehicles, giving us the ability to rat dumbass drivers out when they fail to perform the very simple act of pulling to the right and yielding the right-of-away.
(i) A police officer may issue a written warning or a summons to the owner of a vehicle based upon an affidavit signed by the operator of an emergency vehicle specifying (1) the license plate number, color and type of any vehicle observed violating any provision of subsection (e) or (g) of this section, and (2) the date, approximate time and location of such violation.
Why aren’t there more laws like this? In this day and age, I’ll happily bring a video camera to work just for this purpose and e-mail clips straight to the cops! We can even help out government coffers!