When a firetruck is coming from behind you or in front of you and has their lights and sirens on, do you know what to do? It seems simple, but ABC Action News recently did a story on how many people do not follow the law and fail to move over for firetrucks and paramedics.
Their report states that statistics from the NHTSA and the United States Fire Administration show that firetruck accidents are the second leading cause of on-the-job deaths for firefighters. Nationally, since 2016, 76 firefighters have died while responding to a call. In the past 10 years, there have been an estimated 31,600 accidents involving fire vehicles and most of those accidents occur at intersections.
Florida law is clear. Under Florida Statute 316.126 (Operation of vehicles and actions of pedestrians on approach of an authorized emergency, sanitation, or utility service vehicle), upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle (which includes firetrucks), while en route to meet an existing emergency, the driver of every other vehicle shall, when such emergency vehicle is giving audible signals by siren, exhaust whistle, or other adequate device, or visible signals by the use of displayed blue or red lights, yield the right-of-way to the emergency vehicle and shall immediately proceed to a position parallel to, and as close as reasonable to the closest edge of the curb of the roadway, clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, unless otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer. In other words, move over!
Instead, the report shows video of a car running a red light nearly hitting a rescue unit, drivers throwing their arms up like the firetruck is doing something wrong, and drivers flipping off the firetruck. Failure to abide by Florida’s Move Over law can delay care which could be a life or death situation.
The firetrucks and paramedics are trying to help others – it could be your spouse, friend or family member. Wouldn’t you want all drivers to move out of their way if it was? So should all drivers.
Drive safely and watch out for those who are trying to help those who are injured because others don’t drive safely!
Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes represents those injured in car accidents, motorcycle crashes, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and other types of personal injury matters. He is a named partner at the Tampa Bay law firm of Perenich Caulfield Avril Noyes – one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Pinellas County. Call Attorney Matthew Noyes now at 727-796-8282 or complete the form on this page or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.