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Special to the News
Despite the overwhelming cooperation between Alabama citizens and first responders, numerous motorists across the state continuously fail to yield properly and safely when being approached by authorized emergency vehicles.
Appropriately responding to emergency vehicles enables first responders to execute their duties effectively and efficiently while simultaneously allowing them to preserve public safety and protect the citizens of Alabama.
“Recently, our agency has noticed an increase in motorists failing to yield when encountering first responders operating vehicles in emergency situations,” ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor said. “These experiences only reiterate the seriousness for all motorists to stay alert and maintain a high level of situational awareness, allowing first responders and citizens, as well as visitors, to travel the state’s roadways safely. ALEA troopers and special agents have a responsibility and duty to operate emergency vehicles with regard for the safety of all motorists using Alabama’s highways. However, we absolutely need everyone’s help, not only providing the safe passage for vehicles responding to emergencies, but also reasonably yielding and pulling over for law enforcement officers conducting traffic stops. This is another paramount issue that we truly need support from the citizens of this great state to assist our agency in achieving its goal of having zero lives lost on Alabama roadways.”
Section 32-5A-115 of the Code of Alabama states the following: “Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle equipped with at least one lighted lamp and audible signal as is required by law, the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand [emphasis added] edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in such position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer.”
ALEA’s Director of Department Public Safety (DPS) Colonel Jimmy Helms said, “Our troopers in the Highway Patrol Division have worked diligently to reduce crashes and traffic fatalities across the state through a number of high-visibility enforcement details. As our troopers have implemented these campaigns and initiatives, they have also noticed motorists pulling over to the left and stopping in grass medians and center-only turn lanes, which create issues and makes it unsafe for our troopers, as well as the motorists. Regardless, if you are yielding to an emergency vehicle like an ambulance or a fire truck that is responding to an emergency or an ALEA trooper initiating a traffic stop, remember to follow the law and pull as close as possible to the right-hand edge.”
For additional information on how to safely yield to emergency vehicles and other traffic safety tips, please visit: www.alea.gov.