By Tammy Moore Teague
When most drivers hear a siren or see emergency vehicle lights, pull off to the side of the road, allowing them to pass. Its not only a courtesy, it’s the law. Surprisingly, however, there are a number of drivers who do not. This is a dangerous situation for not only the driver, but also for emergency responders and those whom they are responding to.
“It’s definitely a problem,” said Mansfield Fire Chief Stephen Haysmer. Fire crews, EMS workers and law enforcement all encounter drivers, who either don’t move over allowing them to pass, or slam their breaks on in a panic trying to stop. With a fire truck for example, they have hundreds of gallons of water in their truck, whenever you slam on the breaks in front of them, they have to slam on their breaks. That water will keep pushing on the truck, that keeps them from being able to stop as quickly as a small car or truck.
Haysmer said another issue they face is the public stopping or trying to get a look at what’s going on when they are on scene. He said it keeps them from doing their job and creates further hazards. If drivers are busy looking at an accident or house fire, they aren’t paying attention to the road.
Lastly, remember not to tailgate emergency vehicles. They are carrying precious cargo, our heroes and often times a loved one in distress. These laws are designed for both the public and responders safety. Disregarding them can cost up to $400 in fines, or worse a life.