As most motorists know, when on the roadway in the vicinity of an emergency vehicle in pursuit- that is with lights/sirens engaged- yielding to them is the law. Still, regardless of the law, some motorists are ignorant to what is required of them by the law and will ignore the warning signals to make way. This is exactly why penalties for not yielding to emergency vehicles in pursuit need much stricter enforcement.
Far too many fireman, police and paramedics in a race to be the first on the scene are injured and even killed every year at the fault of drivers unaware of their very conspicuous presence. The penalties to motorists committing this offense face a ticket, points and a fine in most states. The penalty for committing this offense should face much more strict enforcement, including possible loss of license and requisite safety courses.
However skilled the driver may be, an emergency vehicle in pursuit is dangerous. Emergency vehicle operators are typically driving faster than the posted speed limit and have a subsequent lessened reaction time. This severely limits their braking ability to avoid drivers negligent to the emergency lights and the law.
This law is in place to protect everyone on the road while letting the responders attend to people in very serious need. Yielding to the lights and sirens protects not only the responder, and allows them to respond in a timely manner to whatever the call may be, it also protects your life. And when harsher penalties and enforced, our first responders’ lives will be much better protected.