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Emergency Response Vehicle Accidents

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susan_harr6 years ago

The sound of sirens has become a part of our everyday lives- so much that sometimes we don’t respond to them the way we should. Emergency vehicles are used by law enforcement, fire departments, and emergency medical services to respond to emergencies.

Accidents involving emergency response vehicles can be deadly because of the vehicle's size and speed. Additionally, when these vehicles are operating under emergency conditions, they follow a different set of rules in terms of right of way, lighting requirements, audible requirements, and adherence to normal vehicle and traffic laws. This means they may run red lights, speed or make lane changes as they deem necessary.

Texas Law

Sec.545.156- Vehicle Approached by Authorized Emergency Vehicle:

(a) On the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle using audible and visual signals or of a police vehicle lawfully using only an audible signal, an operator, unless otherwise directed by a police officer, shall:

1. Yield the right of way;

2. Immediately drive to a position parallel to and as close as possible to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of an intersection; and

3. Stop and remain standing until the authorized vehicle has passed.

How to Spot and Emergency Vehicle

Information provided by Texas A&M University:

  • A volunteer fireman, driving a personal vehicle, may have one red light on the vehicle roof.
  • A fire engine and an ambulance have two red lights on the front and back of the vehicle. Both have a siren.
  • Police vehicle will have an audible signal and may have lights of any color mounted on the vehicle.

Tips for Avoiding an Accident

Tips below provided by the Loyola University Medical Center Injury Prevention Program:

  • If the emergency vehicle is close behind you, don't stop.
  • Put your right turn signal on to let the emergency vehicle know that you see it.
  • Pull over to the right and stop. If you are in the center lane, move as far to the right as possible.
  • Don't block an intersection. If you are already in an intersection, proceed through, then move right.
  • If your vehicle is in the left turn lane, you may be directed by emergency personnel to make a U-turn or a sharp right turn in front of other traffic lanes and then pull to the right.
  • On freeways, always pull over to the right, not left or center median, if an emergency vehicle has its headlights on.
  • If patrol cars are flashing their lights and cutting across lanes, they are trying to clear the way.
  • Don't play the radio so loudly that you can't hear approaching sirens.
  • Consider driving with the driver-side window down one-quarter inch to make it easier to hear emergency vehicles.
  • Pay attention to what other vehicles are doing-they may have detected an emergency vehicle you can't yet see or hear.
  • It's illegal to follow emergency vehicles to see where they are headed.
Contact an Experienced Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney

Thomas J. Henry are available to respond to commercial vehicle accidents at any hour, day or night. Our lawyers understand that the immediate acquisition, or acquiring, of evidence is paramount to understanding how the accident occurred. Remember, your choice does matter. Contact our offices– we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.


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