You Should Be Charged If You Fail To Give Way To An Emergency Vehicle
I had second thoughts about writing this editorial piece. I remember the last time I wrote about emergency workers and vehicles I took a battering in the comments (you guys sometimes seriously scare me). But then this morning I saw it again. My number one pet hate of all time. Something which frustrates me so much and leaves me in such utter disbelief that it literally causes me to stress. And there's a good reason for it.
I saw an older lady driving quite a small vehicle (I think it was a Suzuki Swift) hold up an ambulance on one of the busiest roads in my home city. She didn't just hold it up for a little while either, I actually got down the street before the ambulance did. I gained distance on the emergency vehicle. And it's not the first time I've seen it either. I see the same thing on almost a weekly basis and it infuriates me. It frustrates my partner as well. If I'm driving while she's in the car she will actually call the Police and report a driver who fails to give way to an emergency vehicle.
But fair enough right? What happens as a result of failing to give way is the difference between life and death, literally. It doesn't matter what sort of emergency service we're actually talking about either. They all can potentially save a life, not the least an ambulance.
I actually think there's a bit of an attitude about ambulances from drivers. Because they aren't actually scared of them they sort of ignore them. It's kinda sad, if you see a police car on a highway speeding up behind you tend to see the entire highway part ways. But if it's an ambulance it's like "oh well, they aren't going to change me with anything."
The truth is though if you stack a car, or get shot, or have a knife throwing incident (surprisingly common occurrence, I think?) the last thing you want is a police officer to be shouting in your face or attempting to replicate their two day first aid course on your rapidly deteriorating half amputated arm. You want a paramedic there. And then you want the police to go after them.
But humanity doesn't think that way, they're far too selfish. They think about what may benefit me at any given time, and the fact is at 40kmph on a road full of traffic, moving out of the way of an ambulance isn't going to benefit the driver at all.
There is something worse than those who don't move out of the way of emergency services. It's those who block anyone attempting to merge back into a lane after they've moved out of the way of an emergency vehicle. It's one thing to fail to give way to an emergency vehicle, it's another again to maliciously punish a driver who has done the right thing after specifically doing the wrong thing yourself.
If you ask any paramedic what the worse part of their job is they'll tell you the deaths they need to witness. You ask any paramedic what the second worst part of their job is and they'll tell you considering all the deaths that they might've been able to mitigate if a slow, ignorant or downright negligent driver had just either looked in their rear view mirror or just thrown the indicator on and changed lanes.
But what happens to those that break the law, to those who sit in front of a police car, fire truck or ambulance whilst they are both alerted and have been called to the scene of an incident or much worse crime. Short answer is, nothing. There are no repercussions and more frustratingly because the emergency services vehicle is already being called to a much more serious incident that vehicle can't do anything about it either.
One thing that is for sure though is all emergency services vehicles have dash cameras on them. So why not use that footage to ticket and charge those who feel that they are above the law. Use that footage as a tool for deter-ant and make sure that those drivers who do fail to give way lose their license as a result. Sure, common sense should be used in how law breakers are charged. But by en large there should not be any excuse for a driver not to move from the path of an emergency service worker. Should there? What do you think?