When Sirens Blast, Northern Nevadans Often Don't Move
Channel 2 News
It's a longtime trooper complaint, and the bane of ambulance drivers. But the problem came to a head at the air race tragedy: drivers ignoring and not yielding to desperately needed emergency responders. Trooper Chuck Allen of the Nevada Highway Patrol says the reason might not have been intentional. "People might have known about the air crash, maybe just honed into their radio or their cell phone to listen to what was going on or what was unfolding."
Whatever the reason, when the sirens blast, Trooper Allen says not enough northern Nevadans move over like they're supposed to. "I'm sure it happens everyday. It really does. But when you're behind somebody for a half mile and they're oblivious to what you're doing, you know it's just uncalled for."
It's hard to believe people would do that, while someone else out there is in agony and needing help. Besides selfish drivers, it may also be more electronic distractions. Trooper Eric Gallagher has noticed another problem. "Car designs today, how quiet they are inside. Sometimes our sirens aren't too effective with newer cars."
Trooper Gallagher has seen how non-yielding drivers can cost lives. "I was running to an accident and they, they just wouldn't get out of my way. And eventually I had to get on the median." In a business where seconds count, Trooper Gallagher was a few minutes late to that injury accident. According to him, "Every time you run code 3, you run into these problems, you really do."
Code 3 means sirens and flashing lights. Even then, there are too many times when drivers don't move over. Not yielding to emergency vehicles is against the law, but troopers rushing to an accident don't have time to ticket offenders. It's a persistent problem that seems to be getting worse. As Trooper Allen told us, "There's always somebody. There really is. There's always somebody you really have to push to get out of the way."
So, here's the rule of thumb. When a siren is behind you, go right, don't stand still. As we saw last Friday, it really is a matter of life and death.
Sunday, May 19 2013 7:02 PM EDT2013-05-19 23:02:30 GMT
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