Actions involving emergency vehicles
For the fourth time in my career, our firm has been retained to represent a family that has suffered a fatality as a result of the unsafe operation of an emergency vehicle. Despite the fact that studies from as far back as the 1970s clearly document the need for emergency vehicles to stop before violating traffic control directions, emergency drivers continue to believe that by activating their lights and siren, they can adequately warn every driver they contact of their intent to violate normal traffic rules. In these four cases, we have been witness to six fatalities: when these incidents happen, they involve large, heavy vehicles and high speeds and the results are catastrophic.
It is our hope that eventually some form of public pressure will force emergency departments and drivers to train and discipline their drivers so that they comply with the existing state law: under the statutes that allow emergency drivers to violate the normal laws of motor vehicle operation, they can do so only if they do not endanger life or property. Unfortunately, the message does not seem to be readily absorbed by some of the young men who are willing to give their time to emergency work.