First Responders Report Uptick in Failure to Yield for Emergency Traffic
Local first responders are reminding motorists to obey the law and yield the right of way to emergency vehicles.
Several area agencies say there's been a recent uptick in collisions and near collisions with emergency vehicles due to drivers not moving over.
Shawn Ballard of Ballard Ambulance says besides not pulling over and stopping, there are other ways that motorists are creating hazards when encountering emergency traffic.
"One of the most dangerous things that we see going on is when we're traveling on a multi-lane road and our ambulance is traveling on the inside lane and someone decides to move into the inside lane and just goes the speed limit. That really puts us in a treacherous situation because then we have to cut across the other lanes to get around that person."
Ballard adds there are also constant hazards which are present whenever his crews respond to an emergency.
"Our biggest risk factor is intersections. Because many times we're going through an intersection against the light. Sometimes when we try to go through an intersection, everybody stops and when we attempt to proceed, someone decides to shoot through the intersection. Every once in a while, we also get people who will just suddenly jam on their brakes and stop in the middle of the intersection and block it."
Ballard says the best thing to do whenever an emergency vehicle is behind you with its lights and sirens going is to pull over and stop or slow down and move over to allow them to pass.
In Washington State, the citation for failing to yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle is as much as $1,062.