Hello and welcome to Your Sheriff's Corner. I would like to focus this week on a topic that we all encounter during our daily driving experiences, emergency vehicles. It is important that we are all educated on the importance of yielding to emergency vehicles. It is also imperative that we are aware of the laws surrounding emergency vehicles.
The goal of these first responders is to arrive as quickly and safely as possible to their destination. The professionals receive yearly specialized training in the classroom as well as live driving on a specialized course for emergency vehicles. Below you will find the actual Statute that applies to emergency vehicles.
The Florida State Statute 316.126 Operation of vehicles and actions of pedestrians on approach of authorized emergency vehicle.
(1)(a) Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle, while en route to meet an existing emergency, the driver of every other vehicle shall, when such emergency vehicle is giving audible signals by sirens, exhaust whistle, or other adequate device, or visible signals by use of displayed blue or red lights, shall 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 closet edge of the curb of the roadway clear of intersection and shall stop and remain in position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, unless otherwise directed by an law enforcement officer.
In July 2002 The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles began an awareness campaign informing the motoring public about the Move Over Act. This act states "When an authorized emergency vehicle making use of any visual signals is parked, or a wrecker displaying amber rotating or flashing lights is performing a recovery or loading on the roadside, the driver or every other vehicle, as soon as it is safe:
1. Shall vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle or wrecker when driving on an interstate highway or other highway with two or more lanes traveling in the direction of the emergency vehicle or wrecker, except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer.
2. Shall slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or greater; or travel at 5 miles per hour when the posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less, when driving on a two-lane road, except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer.
Hopefully after reading this information, your awareness concerning your responsibilities as a driver toward emergency vehicles has increased.
This is an important issue that at one point or another, you will encounter. Now you are equipped with the knowledge to make the right decisions while encountering situations that involve emergency vehicles.