Laura Trujillo of the Arizona Republic:
A review of 1997 statistics by the auto club of Southern California found that, in
California alone, emergency vehicles were involved in 21 fatal and 1,839 injury traffic
collisions. Motorists were at fault in 75 percent of fatal collisions and 63 percent of
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- All motorists should remember that emergency vehicles are exempted from certain rules of
the road-they are allowed to cross red lights, exceed the speed limit, and use any lane if
safe to do so.
- Loyola University Medical Center Injury Prevention Program
> Dr. James,
> I'm writing a story about how firefighters say fewer people are
> pulling over for their lights and sirens these days. This isn't about
> those people who don't hear or see them, but those people who just
> refuse. Firefighters say it's much worse than it was 10 years ago.
> Do you have any theories on this? Is it a more rushed society? more
> aggressive? rude? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
The fact is that people have traffic emotions that have not been
educated. As congestion increases there is more of an emotional
challenge to handle the many nerve racking close calls--maybe hundreds
every day for the average 30-min. commute. But this is not the cause of
the aggressiveness and rebellion against road regulations and etiquette
like ignoring fire engines.
The cause is in our socialization. We grow up being driven around
by aggressive drivers. This is half of the cause. As we start
driving ourselves, the habits learned in childhood are now modeled
and we get more aggressive with every generation as the habit is
The other half of the cause is our years of exposure to thousands
of TV scenes, cartoons, and commercials depicting drivers behaving
badly and having fun and getting away with it.
These two causes insure that we are cynical drivers,
opportunistically taking advantage of others, not a team player in
traffic, willing to break laws as a matter of routine, enjoying
winning, hating to lose like missing an amber light and having to
stop. With this context in mind now, consider the siren complaint by
fire engines, and you can include other emergency vehicles like
Some people chase sirens for fun, but this is still rare, I think
(there is little solid evidence on any of this). Most drivers are
either cynical or confused. Why they're cynical, I explained above.
This translates as lack of care for the emergency vehicle and its
public function. This is a character lapse, in my view. Though this
is a normal tendency, we should fight it in ourselves because it
threatens society and can lead us deeper into less civilized
But others who appear not to respond appropriately to the
emergency vehicle may actually be confused and their slow reactions
may appear as uncooperative. Why are they confused? I can mention
two causes. First, they're not trained to do this. Some drivers can
learn this on their own, but others need training. So we need to
train drivers how to behave around emergency vehicles and big
trucks. Second, the sound of the sirens have not been updated.
Several years ago an engineer in England proved that drivers cannot
accurately locate a siren's position and direction relative to
themselves--until the vehicle is very close, and by then they may be
in the way or not know how to get out fast and safely.
The female British engineer was interviewed on National Public
Radio last year and I hear her mention that she invented a new siren
sound that is like the old one but has in addition a second sound
that's not wavy like the siren. When drivers in traffic hear BOTH
sounds in the siren they can localize it from a distance and its
direction. They installed these new sirens in England, she said, but
in the US there is a bureaucratic hold up as to who has jurisdiction
and who is going to pay for it.
Dr. Leon James
Subject: note from reporter
Hi, My name is Gerald Mizejewski and
I'm a reporter for
the Washington Times. I'm writing a story about the city of Annapolis, and the attempts
to help fire trucks and ambulances get through heavy traffic. Police officers are following
these vehicles to make sure the cars steer clear. Sixty-dollar tickets are being written.
Also, firefighters will be taking down license plate numbers of anyone who is rude and
refuses to yield. Violators will get letters in the mail. Are these helpful measures? Do
you know of any other attempts in the country to help ambulance and fire truck drivers
deal with bad drivers? Thanks.
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2000 09:10:37 -1000
From: Leon James <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "'Mizejewski, Gerald - Metro'" email@example.com
I've heard this problem from people around the country, so I know
it's widespread and not localized. There is a real crisis in terms
of aggressive driving in relation to emergency vehicles. The
measures you've described to enforce the law are excellent in my
opinion and they are going to help. Ultimately however you'll need
to educate people.
Right now people behave around emergency vehicles with disregard
and they learn this attitude in childhood. I think parents will have
to take charge of their children's driver education. Law enforcement
can add this educational component as well. I recommend they hand
out TEE Cards (Traffic
Emotions Education reminders) reminding people why they should
support emergency vehicle operations and regulations.
Also, officials should do something about sirens. They are too
loud and difficult to determine which direction they come from.
Sirens should use a double sound, one superimposed on the other but
different in quality. They've been using it in England for several
years and has improved people's ability to tell which direction the
emergency is coming from.
Dr. Leon James
A recent telling statistic of inconsiderateness in contemporary culture is that in
Florida, which is not worse than the corridor from Washington, D.C., to Boston, or the
areas of Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles, the accidrent rate for emergency vehicles has
more than doubled from 1987 to 1997.
Ambulance drivers regularly complain that many drivers hardly ever give way. In Florida in
1997 there were 736 crashes involving ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars, an
increase of 62 percent over 1987. In central Florida the number of accidents of emergency
vehicles rose from 66 to 101, and merely Orange County (including Orlando) nearly doubled
to the 1997 number of 61 accidents. This does not count the many times emergency vehicles
are merely delayed in traffic from rendering lifesaving assistance.
The Fire Chief Ron
Strosnider of Ocoee said, "I don't know what we're going to do about it"
(Daytona Beach News-Journal, June 7, 1999, p. 2C).
Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
Emergency Vehicle Operations for Ambulances and Other EMS Response Vehicles Including a
Model Standard Operating Procedure for EMS Agencies
4.To provide information to develop educational programs for EMS emergency vehicle
Recently an epidemic of ambulance vehicle crashes and accidents has been identified.
The magnitude of the problem requires that every NYS EMS agency be made aware of the
problem and take immediate steps to reduce the potential for these accidents.
New York State Department of Motor Vehicle statistics illustrate consistent yearly
frequency of 350 ambulance accidents or crashes, injuring almost 2 persons per day. These
statistics also show that most of these accidents are avoidable. Based on these
statistics, if each EMS response vehicle were able to stop at every controlled
intersection, 75% of all of these accidents could be prevented.
EMS emergency response vehicles must be operated in a manner that provides for due
regard and the safety of all persons and property. Safe arrival and patient welfare shall
always have priority over unnecessary speed or hazardous driving practices while enroute
to an incident or to the hospital. The NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law (V&T) authorizes
privileges that ambulance and other emergency vehicle drivers may use during an emergency
The NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law states the following:
114-b. Emergency Operations the operation, or parking, of an authorized
emergency vehicle, when such vehicle is engaged in transporting a sick or injured
Emergency operation shall not include returning from such service.
101. Authorized emergency vehicles every ambulance,
1104 Authorized Emergency Vehicles
(a) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle, when involved in an emergency
operation, may exercise the privileges set forth in this section, but subject to the
conditions herein stated.
(b) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle may:
1. Stop, stand or park irrespective of the provisions of this title;
2. Proceed past a steady red signal, a flashing red signal or a stop sign, but only
after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operations;
3. Exceed the maximum speed limits so long as he does not endanger life or property;
4. Disregard the regulations governing directions of movement or turning in specified
(c) Except for an authorized emergency vehicle operated as a police vehicle, the
exemptions herein granted to an authorized emergency vehicle shall apply only when audible
signals are sounded from any said vehicle while in motion by bell, horn, siren, electronic
device or exhaust whistle as may be reasonably necessary, and when the vehicle is equipped
with at least one lighted lamp so that from any direction, under normal atmospheric
conditions from a distance of five hundred feet from such vehicle, at least one red light
will be displayed and visible.
(e) THE FOREGOING PROVISIONS SHALL NOT RELIEVE THE DRIVER OF AN AUTHORIZED EMERGENCY
VEHICLE FROM THE DUTY TO DRIVE WITH DUE REGARD5 FOR THE SAFETY OF ALL PERSONS, NOR SHALL
SUCH PROVISIONS PROTECT THE DRIVER FROM THE CONSEQUENCES OF HIS RECKLESS DISREGARD FOR THE
SAFETY OF OTHERS.
Emergency operations in EMS are always an affirmative decision that is made at the time of
each response. Today, EMD, industry data, EMS educational materials, legal case
precedents, and other industry practices set a standard of care for emergency vehicle
operation which is binding on all EMS providers. Drivers of emergency vehicles are
reminded that they solely bear the responsibility for driving safely and with due regard.
There is no immunity from liability provided in NYS law for driving.
NYS EMS POLICY
Every EMS response vehicle must be driven safely at all times, usually not exceeding
the speed limit. Drivers exercising any of the V&T Law privileges must do so
cautiously and with due regard for the safety of all others.
Types of Responses -
Non-emergency Operations - anytime an EMS response vehicle is out of the station on an
assignment other than an emergency run, shall be considered to be a routine operation. All
routine operations will be considered non-emergency and shall be made using headlights
only - no light bars, beacons, corner or grill flashers or sirens shall be used. During a
non-emergency operation, the ambulance shall be driven in a safe manner and is not
authorized to use any emergency vehicle privileges as provided for in the V&T Law.
Emergency Operations - shall be limited to any response to the scene or the hospital
where the driver of the emergency vehicle actually perceives, based on instructions
received or information available to him or her, the call to be a true emergency. EMD
dispatch classifications6, indicating a true or potentially true emergency should be used
to determine the initial response type. Patient assessments made by a certified care
provider, should determine the response type (usually C or U as an emergency) to the
hospital. In order for a response to be a true or potentially true emergency, the operator
or certified care provider must have an articulable reason to believe that emergency
operations may make a difference in patient outcome. During an emergency operation
headlights and all emergency lights shall be illuminated and the siren used as necessary.
Each EMS response vehicle operator must recognize that the emergency vehicle has no
absolute right of way, it is qualified and cannot be taken forcefully.
During emergency operations every EMS response vehicle must be operated in such a
manner and at such a speed upon approaching an intersection, controlled by a traffic
control device so as to permit safe passage through the intersection. Before entering the
intersection the operator must reduce the speed of the vehicle to be able to stop the
vehicle if necessary to permit such safe passage.
Every EMS response vehicle must stop upon encountering a stopped school bus with red
lights flashing; any non controlled railroad crossing or railroad crossing at which safety
gates and/or warning lights are activated or if requested by a police officer.
EMS response vehicles shall not use escorts or travel in convoys due to the extreme
dangers associated with multiple emergency vehicles operating in close proximity to each
At emergency scenes the use of emergency warning lights must be governed by the need to
protect the safety of all personnel, patients and the public. In some cases less is better
and the use of emergency lights should be minimized.
Every NYS ambulance or ALSFR service must have and enforce a written policy which
describes the authorized practices for driving EMS emergency response vehicles by their
members or employees. The service policy must be consistent with this policy and must
include the following:
A definition of emergency and non emergency call types, including dispatch criteria for
determining the type of call.
A description of the authorization required to use emergency operations on dispatch and
enroute to the hospital, including call types, dispatcher and crew chief authority and
A statement regarding exceeding the posted speed limit.
A statement regarding the speed permitted and stopping requirements through intersections
which are uncontrolled or controlled.
Frequency and content of driver screening and training requirements for individuals
authorized by the service to drive an EMS response vehicle.
Insurance company driver screening including age, driving record, training, and other
Every NYS-EMS agency shall have a training program for all individuals authorized by
the service to drive an EMS emergency response vehicle. The program shall include a
curriculum, approved instructors, and frequency of training and documentation.
A prompt, safe response can be attained by:
Knowing where you are going.
All personnel are on board, seated and seat belts secured.
Leaving the station in a safe and standard manner:
- quickly boarding vehicle
- station doors fully open
Using warning devices to move with and around traffic and to request the right-of-way.
Driving defensively, at reasonable speeds, slowing or stopping at all intersections and
giving approaching traffic adequate time to recognize the vehicle and yield the right of
Using pre-planned response routed which take into account hazards, construction,
traffic density, etc.
MODEL SERVICE SPECIFIC POLICY
The following model policy may be easily adopted by any EMS service to be included as a
part of the services policies and standard operating procedures.
Types of Responses
Non emergency Operations - anytime an EMS response vehicle is out of the station
on an assignment other than an emergency run shall be considered to be a routine,
Emergency Operations - shall be limited to any response to a scene which is perceived
to be a true emergency situation. True emergencies are defined by EMD and dispatch policy
for a response to any situation in which there is a high probability of death or life
threatening illness or injury. The risk of emergency operations must be demonstrably able
to make a difference in patient outcome.
Emergency Vehicle Operations
First and Foremost DO NO Harm !
1.Emergency operations are authorized only to responses deemed by dispatch protocol to
be emergency in nature where the risks associated with emergency operations demonstrably
make a difference in patient outcome.
5.EMS response vehicles do not have an absolute right of way, it is qualified and
cannot be taken forcefully
6.During an emergency operation the vehicles headlights and all emergency lights
shall be illuminated and the siren used as necessary.
9.EMS response vehicles shall not exceed posted speed limits by more than ten (10)
miles per hour.
10.EMS service vehicles shall not exceed posted speed limits when proceeding through
intersections with a green signal or no control device.
11.When an EMS response vehicle approaches an intersection, with or without a control
device, the vehicle must be operated in such a manner as to permit the driver to make a
safe controlled stop.
12.When an EMS response vehicle approaches a red light, stop sign, stopped school bus
or a railroad crossing, the vehicle must come to a complete stop.
13.When an EMS response vehicle uses the median (turning lane) or an oncoming traffic
lane to approach intersections, they must come to a complete stop before proceeding
through the intersection with caution.
14.When traffic conditions require an EMS response vehicle to travel in the oncoming
traffic lanes, the maximum speed is twenty (20) miles per hour.
15.The use of escorts and convoys is not permitted.
16.The driver of an EMS response vehicle must account for all lanes of traffic prior to
proceeding through an intersection.
Send questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Revised: December 1999
Failing to slow down when necessary
Failing to obey traffic signals
Disregarding traffic rules and regulations
Other Factors That Contribute to Emergency Vehicle Accidents
Time of Day
Other Drivers Reactions
The Dos and Donts of Transporting Children in an Ambulance
Approximately six million children are transported by emergency medical services (EMS)
vehicles each year in the United States. There are risks of injury associated with
transport that can be minimized. An ambulance is NOT a standard passenger vehicle. Unlike
the well-developed and publicized child passenger safety standards and guidelines,
specifications for the safe transport of ill and injured children in ambulances are still
under development. Standard automotive safety practices and techniques cannot be applied
directly to EMS vehicle environments due to biomechanical and practical differences.
Caution is encouraged in the application of passenger vehicle principles to ambulances and
in the utilization of new and unproven products.
A national consensus committee, sponsored by the EMSC Program, is reviewing current EMS
child transportation safety practices. The group, which includes representatives from EMS
national organizations, federal agencies, and transportation safety engineers, is
developing preliminary recommendations for EMS providers until scientific research is
Pending research and consensus outcomes, the following guidelines for good practice
should be observed when transporting children in EMS vehicles.
- DO drive cautiously at safe speeds observing traffic laws.
- DO tightly secure all monitoring devices and other equipment
- DO ensure available restraint systems are used by EMTs and other occupants,
including the patient.
- DO transport children who are not patients, properly restrained, in an alternate
passenger vehicle, whenever possible.
- DO encourage utilization of the DOT NHTSA Emergency Vehicle Operating Course
(EVOC), National Standard Curriculum.
- DO NOT drive at unsafe high speeds with rapid acceleration, decelerations, and
- DO NOT leave monitoring devices and other equipment unsecured in moving EMS
- DO NOT allow parents, caregivers, EMTs or other passengers to be unrestrained
- DO NOT have the child/infant held in the parent, caregiver, or EMTs arms or
lap during transport.
- DO NOT allow emergency vehicles to be operated by persons who have not completed
the DOT EVOC or equivalent.
- Reduced visibility of the emergency vehicle
- Pedestrian traffic not paying attention
- Congested roadways
- Confused civilian drivers
- Most costly due to the nature of the crash -- usually a broadside or T-bone collision
- Have the greatest potential for loss of life and total loss of equipment
- Happen because operator ASSUMES the right of way
To: "'email@example.com'" firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Yield Stats
Dear Dr. James,
I am doing research on the worldwide problem of drivers not yielding to emergency
vehicles on emergency runs. You have written and spoken so much about road rage, and the
driver mentality. Do you have any comments or stats about this frustrating phenomena?
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 2000 12:14:50 -1000
To: 'Leon James' <email@example.com> Subject: RE: Yield Stats
Dear Dr. James,
Thank you so much for responding so quickly. I am not doing an article, at least not
yet, but I am trying to open the public's eyes in another way. I recently wrote and I am
the research producer on a Public Service Announcement commercial for television and radio
relating to this yielding problem. It is in post right now. We will sell the spot to every
fire department, transportation department, police, drivers education schools, etc. in the
world. Well, maybe not that many, but as many as we can. The Houston Fire Department has
already arranged for the spot to be aired on the ABC affiliate here as soon as it is
ready. It is time critical because they have problems everyday with drivers.
The spot premise is a man driving along with road rage and an indifferent attitude. He
impedes an ambulance on an emergency run. The ambulance is rushing to a heart attack
victim. When the ambulance finally arrives, the frustrated firefighters ask why it took
them so long. One of the paramedics tells them about the latest idiot who won't yield. The
victim's wife hears this exchange. At the end of the spot, the young man finds out that
the victim is his very own father. The look his mother gives him is horrible to see. The
spot is visually and emotionally very powerful. I hope it is well received and helps to
We were very lucky to have the complete cooperation from the Houston Fire Department.
All of the firefighters and firefighter paramedics used in the spot are with the
department, not actors. I wanted everything to be as authentic as possible. They were
terrific and acted like the pros they all are.
Thanks again for the information. My "bible" for this project is a huge three
holed notebook that now weighs eight pounds! Research is just like those computer viruses.
I open one thing to read and find even more interesting info next to it. What fun.
- This is an important human aspect, especially for driving. What is the drivers
disposition toward his driving? Is he:
- Immature -- Hes the only one whose safety he cares about
- Brazen, show-off -- More concerned with image than reality. Gets a kick out of speed
(the faster he goes, the more pumped up he gets)
- This aspect is learned. What do we know about our specific task
- Some people dont know the vehicles they are driving or dont care about them
- Couldnt pour water out of a boot, even if the instructions were printed on the
- Some people dont know their surroundings
- SSM plays a part here
- What is the current mental state of the driver? Is he tired from working 24 hours
- Brick short of a full load, couple cans short of a six-pack
- May be OK for go-fer duty, but not for piloting propelled tonnage down the street
- Is he taking too many chances?
- Again, another important part of driving. Look at yourself and your partner. Are you:
- Driving offensively rather than defensively?
- Does the driver barrel down on other vehicles, expecting them to move out of the way?
- Does the driver apply the "Lug Nut Rule"? I have more lug nuts, therefore I
by Claudio Cordovil
Sao Paulo, Brazil
May 28, 2000
Claudio Cordovil: How many deaths are caused by road rage each year?
Leon James: Some people restrict the phrase road rage to assault and battery committed
by one driver against another after getting into a dispute over driving. In the U.S. this
occurs about 1200 a year, and it is rising by about 6% per year.
Others, including myself and the government and safety experts, define road rage and
aggressive driving together. It is more common in legislation to use the phrase
"aggressive driving legislation" rather than road rage legislation. This is
because aggressive driving does not usually involve assault or battery.
A few vocal groups, now growing every year, disagree that traffic violations should be
considered "aggressive driving."
In terms of numbers, I estimate that every driver experiences road rage EMOTIONS on
every trip, several times a day.
Claudio Cordovil: Do you believe that we must consider road rage as a kind of public
Leon James: Road rage and aggressive driving are public health issues. First because of
**200 billion road rage exchanges a year in the U.S.
**42,000 fatalities a year, most of which could be avoided
**6 million crashes, 4 million injuries, 250 billion dollars cost
All this for one year adds up to an epidemic. Then you must add the stress and
pollution factors as additional costs. Each of the 200 billion incidents of road rage or
hostile exchanges creates some stress. Each added stress level has negative consequences
on health, lowering immune system functioning, and increasing cardio-vascular damage. In
terms of pollution, the cost runs into billions of dollars a year when you consider (a)
how many extra and unnecessary times drivers use the gas pedal then the break due to road
rage, impatience, aggressiveness; This requires extra fuel for every driver per year. More
oil imports, higher prices per gallon, and more pollution in the air that has further
economic and health consequences.
How did I arrive at 400 billion road rage exchanges?
125 million drivers in the US every day X 365 days X 10 hostile aggressive road rage
exchanges per trip = a little over 400 billion (and this is a conservative estimate. Try
it on your own: next time you drive, how many times do you get angry or hostile or annoyed
at another driver?) Claudio Cordovil: What aggressive road rage is becoming more common?
In terms of assault and battery: shooting and using the car to ram someone.
In terms of aggressive behavior: running red lights, not yielding, lane hopping, insulting
gestures and words, driving and drinking, speeding. The new aggressive driving laws in 16
states propose that aggressive driving be defined as 3 or more traffic infractions
committed within a few minutes or miles, as observed by an officer.
Claudio Cordovil: Is road rage increasing?
Leon James: Yes. As congestion increases, drivers are more challenged emotionally to
remain civilized and polite. This is possible to learn, but they need to be taught
In addition to congestion, we are making aggressiveness to be a learned generational
habit. We are teaching our children now to grow up to be aggressive drivers by the way we
behave in the car when they ride with us. Also, TV, cartoons, movies, and commercials all
portray drivers behaving badly, and children learn from that by imitation and modeling. So
aggressive driving will increase with every generation, unless counteracted by new
I have a Web site devoted to aggressive driving prevention activities
that parents can do with their children: http://DrDriving.org/carr or else just go to the
main site at http://DrDriving.org
and link from there. CARR stands for
Road Rage and I believe we owe our children this prevention program. Driver education
should start in grade 1, not in high school. I provide details of a
Self-Improvement Pogram in my
congressional testimony on the Web.
Claudio Cordovil: Are there differences in aggressive driving across countries--is it a
Leon James: Yes, it is universal. I follow Newsgroups on the Web with participating drivers from England, Australia, Canada, Singapore, India, etc. Same thing everywhere.
I consulted with officials from the Motor Vehicle Department in China where they have a
road rage epidemic among their 17 million commercial drivers. I also created a course for
law enforcement to deal with the problem and the San Antonio police department is now
distributing TEE Cards at traffic stops. These cards are driver education cards I created. See this
Web site on TEE Cards. I also consult with trucking safely schools and emergency vehicle
operators. It's the same problem everywhere.
Claudio Cordovil: Why car industry doesn't engage in the war against road rages by the
creation of technical devices that punishes that kind of behavior? For example, the
fitting of long sharps spikes sticking out from the center of every steering wheel
pointing to the heart of each driver engaged in rage or being alcohol impaired?
Leon James: I think there needs to be a greater awareness that the problem can be
solved without punishing the drivers, but retraining them. Law enforcement and punishment
will only go so far in solving the problem. The true solution lies in a lifelong
self-improvement program such as I have proposed. It's called Quality Driving Circles or
QDCs. These are small groups of 6 to 10 drivers meeting regularly and helping one another
carry out self-improvement activities. I recommend the threestep program.
Claudio Cordovil: What is the efficacy of psychotherapeutic-like techniques in order to
deal with that problem? What is the approach that you recommend?
Leon James: You can't give everybody
psychotherapy. Besides, aggressive driving is normal. Part of our
socialization process. Now we need to change that socialization
Claudio Cordovil: Can it be seen as a symptom of society's growing loss of community, a
decay of moral values?
Leon James: People need to realize that the opposite of aggressive driving is
supportive driving. This means seeing it as a community task, not as a war or competitive
sport. With a teamwork orientation, driving can be a community builder by everyone being
nice to each other, just as in a family. We can switch if we make it into a national and
- An ambulance driver must operate his ambulance with due regard for the safety of others.
- The definition of Due Regard is:
- "Enough notice of approach, before a collision is inevitable"
- What situations would not be "due regard"?
What is Due Regard?
- As far as legal definitions go, "due regard" is hard to define.
"Enough" time is hard to define, especially since it changes depending on the
season, current conditions, etc.
- Winter -- windows up, heater on, radio on, talking on cell phone
- Summer -- A/C on, windows up, radio on, etc
Lights/Sirens & Due Regard
- When judging your use of lights and sirens in a legal case, the courts will look at,
among other things:
- Was it necessary to use the RLS
- Were all the proper signals used
- Were they CLEARLY visible to the public
- You will be judged by the standard of negligence we just talked about
Planners Propose Narrow Streets to Promote Safety
May 22, 2000
By Mercedes Diaz
NEW YORK (APBnews.com) -- Traffic safety experts say those narrow, tree-lined streets
that wend their way through neighborhoods around the country can be effective in slowing
down speeding drivers.
Some traffic safety advocates are now calling for a narrowing of roadways throughout
cities as a way to promote safety for motorists and pedestrians.
But other traffic safety experts disagree. They say that narrowing wide streets may
endanger lives by increasing the number of traffic accidents.
But there may be a downside to the street-narrowing proposals, said J.L. Gattis, an
associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Arkansas. The results of his
study, published earlier this year in the Journal of Transportation Engineering, conclude
that narrowing streets does not necessarily slow down traffic or make the streets safer.
Motorists tend to drive fast on arterials, then gradually slow down as they travel
through local streets.
"If all the streets are narrow, the developer is going to spend less. But if there
are accidents, the cost is going to be borne by the residents," Gattis said.
If the street is too narrow and "you park a car on the street, then a fire truck
can't get by," he said.
Walter Morris, a supervisor at the Rockland County Fire Training Center in New York
state, said the international fire safety code dictates that streets be built to allow a
minimum of 20 to 25 feet of access. That way, said Morris, if a fire truck is parked in
front of a structure, a second truck can safely pass around it.
Engineers on both sides of the issue agree that the debate is just in its infancy. And
on both sides of the issue, there have been accusations of being pro-car or anti-car.
Subject: Public should know more about EMS driving...
I am an active member and driver for my local volunteer EMS. After being
cut off by a driver last Saturday while proceeding to an overturn MVA with my
lights and siren going, enough time was wasted for me to be too late.
Fortunately, a FDNY bus was on scene shortly before we arrived, but if they
were not backing us up the outcome would have been far worse. Your site,
including "Emergency Vehicles: The Rules of the Road for Motorists" , was
found to be most helpful. If I remember correctly, instructions similar to
these were never made clear years ago when I attained my driver's
from New York State DOT. They should have. I am forwarding this site to
everyone I Know. Thanks for adding this important piece of information to