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Emergency Vehicles

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State law requires a driver to carry his/her valid driver’s license and proof of valid insurance at any time they are operating a motor vehicle

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Approaching emergency vehiles

When an emergency vehicle is approaching from behind with lights and/or siren activated, a driver MUST

Pull his/her vehicle to the RIGHT SIDE of the road with the passenger side tires to the curb/shoulder, and

STOP the vehicle until the emergency vehicle passes or the driver is instructed to move the vehicle. 

If an emergency vehicle is stopped on the side of the road, a driver MUST

Slow the vehicle to 20 miles per hour under the posted speed limit (if there is only a single lane or operator is unable to change lanes due to traffic), or

Vacate the lane that is closest to the emergency vehicle by changing lanes to the left.

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Driving behind a marked Police or Fire/EMS Department Vehicle

If you are following behind and Emergency Vehicle (Fire, EMS, Law Enforcement) and their emergency lighting and sirens are not activated, you must:  

Follow state law regarding the two-second following rule and follow all traffic laws as normal.  Failure to do so can result in a citation being issued.

If you are following behind and Emergency Vehicle (Fire, EMS, Law Enforcement) and their emergency lighting and sirens are activated, you must:  

Remain at least 500 feet behind the emergency vehicle and continue to follow all traffic laws as normal. Failure to do so can result in a citation being issued.

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Often times citizens become disgruntled when they see a Emergency Vehicle drive in a manner that would normally get that citizen a citation (i.e.: driving through a red light, passing in a no passing zone, driving over the speed limit). Hopefully after reading this you will start to have some understanding as there are many factors that most citizens don't know that guides Emergency Service/Public Servant personnel to drive in the manner they do.

  1. State Law stipulates that Emergency Vehicles are exempt from most traffic laws as long as they drive with the due regard for the safety of others.
  2. Most Fire/EMS and Law Enforcement departments are seriously undermanned for the number of citizens in the municipalities/counties and for the large amount of territory they have to cover.

Think about this the next time you get irritated when you see a situation regarding an Emergency Vehicle's driving habits.

First, are you driving in accordance with the law (i.e.: driving in the very right lane, pulling to the right and stopping when an emergency vehicle is approaching with lights and sirens activated, etcetera).

Secondly, think about the fact that these vehicles are on the roadway to provide Emergency Service for the whole city, not just a single public street.

Third, think about what these Public Servants are having to accomplish during their Tour of Duty and the dangers they face. In many cities, these same personnel may only respond to 5 or 10 calls during their shift. In Killeen, these personnel are responding to 20 or 30 calls per tour of duty. These personnel risk their lives every day so that you the citizen can work, play, and sleep in a safe environment.

Fourth, if you are a citizen who is needing these Public Servants, and all of them are tied up except for one who is 3, 5, or 10 miles away, would you want them to drive according to every traffic law (the speed limit, remaining at every red light until it changed to green, remaining in their single marked lane, etcetera), or would you want them to do whatever was necessary to safely and expeditiously get to your location?

 

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