Bill would LET cops, fire
trucks run lights
Chief Robert Edwards
After reading the local paper this morning,
my wife says, “Did you see this law being proposed?” How observant
of her! No, I must have missed it (sports section was more important
because one of my idols… Johnny Unitas had passed away).
||Quickly, she handed me the article and
in this very brief torn out piece, several points were made that really
caught my attention. The first was the statement that currently United
States Postal Services vehicles are the ONLY ones authorized to run a red
traffic light. Did you get that? ONLY the mail can blow the
light! The second thing was really where was need coming from?
I thought we were always supposed to stop, or at least roll through slowly,
the stoplights (none out here in the sticks), and the stop signs.
So I started researching it on the web.
Sure enough today, in the New Jersey legislature, bill A403 is supposed
to be introduced by Assemblyman Thomas H. Kean. Bill A403 establishes
guidelines for operating authorized emergency vehicles in emergency situations.
follows is an extract of the law as posted on the website:
1. a. As used in this section, "emergency
operation" means the operation, or parking, of an authorized emergency
vehicle when that vehicle is engaged in: the pursuit of an actual or suspected
violator of the law; the transportation of a sick or injured person, blood
or blood products or organs for transplant, when the situation involves
an imminent health risk or medical exigency; or a response to a police
or law enforcement call, alarm or fire or any other call for assistance
or the rendering of aid at the scene of an accident, disaster, actual or
potential release of hazardous materials or other such event.
b. The operator of an authorized
emergency vehicle, when involved in an emergency operation, may:
(1) Stop, stand or
park the vehicle, notwithstanding the provisions of Title 39 of the Revised
Statutes to the contrary;
(2) Proceed past a
steady red signal, a flashing red signal or a stop sign, but only after
the operator has slowed or stopped the vehicle to insure the existence
of a right of way sufficient for safe operation and the safety of others;
(3) Exceed the maximum speed
limit, provided the operator exercises all due regard for the safety of
others and does not endanger life or property; and
(4) Disregard signs and regulations
governing the direction of traffic movement and turning in specified directions,
provided the operator exercises all due regard for the safety of others
and does not endanger life or property by disregarding those signs and
c. The exemptions authorized under the
provisions of subsection b. of this section shall apply only when an audible
signal by bell, horn, siren, electronic device, exhaust whistle or other
approved means is sounded from the authorized emergency vehicle involved
in an emergency operation and that vehicle is equipped with, and displays,
at least one lighted red lamp that, under normal atmospheric conditions,
is visible in every direction from a distance of at least 500 feet
d. The exemptions authorized under the
provisions of this section shall not relieve the operator of an authorized
emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety
of all persons, nor shall it protect the operator from the consequences
of his reckless disregard for the safety of others.
This last point may be the most significant
and should be emphasized to all emergency vehicle operators. They
are liable for their driving! How many of your drivers think otherwise?
Please remember and remind your people
that to help others is to arrive at the intended destination safely.
We must be defensive drivers and be aware of others potential actions.
Lights and sirens are requesting a right of way, not demanding it.
Well whether or not it passes, hopefully
this is a message to all to Drive and Operate SAFELY.