It is common knowledge for drivers to yield the right of way or pull over to the side of the road when an emergency vehicle approaches. This is why when police cars, ambulances and fire trucks come down the road, most cars get out of the way.
But should this rationale apply to the drivers of emergency vehicles themselves? Conventional wisdom would suggest that it would. After all, they have to follow the rules of the road just like everyone else, and they must check to see if intersections are clear and safe before passing through them.
Nevertheless, an accident involving an ambulance and a fire truck in Florida suggests that the driver of one, or both, vehicles were not paying attention. According to an ABC News.com report, the two vehicles were responding to separate emergencies but had to cross paths at an intersection. A traffic camera video showed that the ambulance crashed into a fire truck that had just crossed into the intersection.
Despite what the video reportedly shows, an investigation is likely so that it can be determined who was exactly at fault for failing to yield the right of way. Emergency vehicle drivers have a duty to use reasonable care even though they have the right to “bend” established traffic laws, so that they may go through red lights and drive at speeds above posted speed limits when circumstances warrant it.
But just like all other drivers, if they fail to use such care and a person is injured as a result, the driver of an emergency vehicle could be held liable.
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