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Emergency Vehicles & Red Light Cameras . . .

38 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

Emergency Vehicles & Red Light Cameras . . .

Here's something I never considered before and the following piece makes the point. Basically it concerns the thinking that people would be afraid to move into an intersection, in order to yield to an emergency vehicle, where a red light camera is installed.

I don't think it would be too hard to correlate the time the emergency vehicle passed through the intersection to the time the ticket was issued, but a motorist's first thought would be to avoid the automatic $341 ticket (here in California.) So that doesn't solve the initial problem.

BTW, I'm just finishing up the clinical portion of a Phlebotomy class and I really enjoyed it. (Our class motto is, "We stick together . . .") :wink:

NickD :lol:

EMT-B

[web:57d9613353]http://laist.com/2007/08/20/great_comment_r.php[/web:57d9613353]

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Posted · Report post

I never really thought of that. What woudl the fine be if they didn't move out of the way and got a citation for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.

I'm sure there are ways to get around this. Don't the cameras take a picture of the entire lanes of traffic?

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From what I could find on the net the fines for not yielding to an emergency vehicle in California are indeed cheaper than getting a red light ticket. The first offence fine for not yielding is between $100 - $250 and the red light ticket can be as high as $370.

Here's a Q&A from a California law website FAQ:

Question: What if I had to run the signal, because of a tailgater, road-rager, sirens, medical emergency, etc.?

Answer: This is a legitimate defense, but doesn't work very often. A lot of people tell the judge that there was a siren behind them. Because they have heard it so much, the judges won't take anyone's word for it. <<

It goes on to say you'd need a copy of the agencies' run report and a third party eye witness to have a hope.

>>Don't the cameras take a picture of the entire lanes of traffic?<<

I'm not sure, but I doubt if the emergency vehicle would show if was several car lengths (or further) behind you.

This is clearly a case of the law working against itself.

NickD :)

EMT-B

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sounds like a bad deal all around but I think you could make a case if you got a lawyer and all that.

I guess that you could request a trial by jury which we are all allowed even with a traffic ticket.

Get enough sympathetic jurors you might just beat it.

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Makes a great point. I believe the cameras here in KC record 24/7 so that too caught the whole story. I am not sure. I am not even sure if they use them for tickets yet. If a EMV with lights and siren was behind me I would go through and than quickly write down the vehicles number in case it became an issue down the road.

I am not quite sure I like the whole road cam thing.

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When they send a picture of your car and a ticket, send them a picture of a check, just fuzz out acct info or they'll electonically debit.

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When they send a picture of your car and a ticket, send them a picture of a check, just fuzz out acct info or they'll electonically debit.

Last person I heard about who did that, got a second letter, showing a picture of a set of police handcuffs.

He paid the fine.

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Does it even matter? I was under the impression that if you're running code and get stuck at an intersection like that then the proper action is to shut everything down rather than force cars into an intersection. The 30 seconds you aren't going to save isn't worth the chance of causing an accident at the intersection. Also jumping a median isn't an option with a patient in back.

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Does it even matter? I was under the impression that if you're running code and get stuck at an intersection like that then the proper action is to shut everything down rather than force cars into an intersection. The 30 seconds you aren't going to save isn't worth the chance of causing an accident at the intersection. Also jumping a median isn't an option with a patient in back.

I agree completely with what JPINFV said. There's no reason to put other people in harm (going through red lights) to save 30 seconds, because most of the time, it doesn't matter. Get extremely to the right. There's nothing in the law that says you can legally run a red light if theres an Emergency Vehicle behind you. You need to get as right as possible, and then you wouldn't obstruct the law to yield, since you did all that was possible to get out of the Emergency Vehicle's way. Just my thoughts.

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I have to agree. Whenever I come up on an intersection with all lanes blocked, I shut down the siren and just hang back until the light turns green. If I'm running hot and a car pulls out into the intersection through a red light, and causes an accident, I'm automatically at fault by Virginia law. So I really don't want anyone poking through the intersection for me.

If the Opticom would ever work properly, it should be turning the light for me shortly, anyway.

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Standard practice at my company is to shut down if coming to a light with all lanes blocked and you can't oppose traffic. I would think it'd be a liability to force a car into the intersection.

Before I worked in EMS, I would have gone through an intersection of an emergency vehicle, but now I really don't know.

I felt very confused once when driving the ambulance and having a PD unit come racing toward us at a red light. In my personal car, I would have safely run it (it was a crosswalk red light, not intersection, pedestrians had finished crossing). But as an ambulance I didn't know what kind of example to set, but also didn't want to seem like a jerk to the police. They ended up passing around us on the right, through a gap.

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Hook them up to opticom systems?

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well 2 things, here, what we do when we are in the ambulance and another emergency vehicle is traveling the same way we light it up to break up the traffic b4 they get there then we kill the lights and siren after we cleared a path(when possible of coursE)

PD and other ems always returns the love back, FD is the only one who doesn't but they rarely have the opportunity too.

maybe people in ny are more anxious but i could be in the right lane of a 6 lane each direction light and be lights and sirens and cars from every lane will take the light.

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I don't recall the jurisdiction, or how long ago this reportedly happened, but...

A driver was stopped for the red traffic signal, where the jurisdiction wanted vehicles to stop, when a police car, under lights and siren, pulled in directly behind him.

He was going to make a right turn, anyway, from the right lane where he was positioned, so, with due regard for any other traffic or pedestrians (there was none), he slowly went through the light, and pulled over.

Surprise! The police car pulled up in back of him, and gave him a ticket for going through the red light!

"Your honor, I was fully stopped when the police car came into view, and I yielded right of way to them, as they were travelling at apparent emergency status."

"Guilty as charged! Pay the clerk the cost of the ticket, plus court costs!"

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Does it even matter? I was under the impression that if you're running code and get stuck at an intersection like that then the proper action is to shut everything down rather than force cars into an intersection. The 30 seconds you aren't going to save isn't worth the chance of causing an accident at the intersection. Also jumping a median isn't an option with a patient in back.

This should be standard practice IMO. Also a good pitch for selling Opticom.

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I think Red Light cameras are more dangerous than any other municipal revenue generator (ahem, I mean "traffic control tool").

In my experience, all of the locals learn where the cameras are and many drivers slam on their brakes when the light turns yellow to avoid a ticket, sometimes causing an accident. Because of this, I think all emergency vehicles need to be extra cautious when approaching an intersection with a red light camera, even when you have the green light.

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The rear endings I've been to have usually had minor to moderate injuries (except on freeway), whereas TCs from running red lights usually had moderate to severe/fatal injuries.

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That's an interesting point. Here's a study that compares before and after accident rates at red-light controlled intersections:

http://www.tfhrc.gov/safety/pubs/05049/

The study shows overall expenses due to crashes to be decreased. It also shows that, of the sites studied, there were 379 fewer right angle collisions, but 375 more rear-end collisions. This study also summarized some potential recommendations on placement of red light cameras.

The point I was trying to make is that when responding L+S and approaching an intersection with a red-light camera, emergency vehicle drivers now have to worry about another factor that increases the unpredictability of other drivers.

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Now I know that there are a few towns here that have a red light system that detects the direction on a EV through the use of directional sirens, and changes the Red Light Green, it should help. Now as for Red Light cameras, I dont see why they could not be diactivated using the same technology. Calgary for example I believe uses forward facing stobe lights to help with traffic flow using a similar technology as the siren based system.

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Does it even matter? I was under the impression that if you're running code and get stuck at an intersection like that then the proper action is to shut everything down rather than force cars into an intersection. The 30 seconds you aren't going to save isn't worth the chance of causing an accident at the intersection. Also jumping a median isn't an option with a patient in back.

Yeah that is policy at my department as well. We are told that we cannot (legally) force vehicles to go through red lights. If they move of their own accord, then hey, all the better, but we cannot get on the PA and tell vehicles to move through a red light. However, we do not shut "everything" down when we come up to this type of situation. Rather, we shut down the siren and leave the lights on so that vehicles know that we are still responding to an emergency and that they need to move over as soon as the light turns.

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New FYI, from the least populated borough/county of NYC: Staten Island, AKA Richmond County.

Seems instead of giving opticon or similar equipment to any of the emergency services, the buses running on Victory Blvd. will get this stuff!

Link: http://www.newsday.com/news/local/newyork/...815,print.story

Story as from Newsday Newspaper web site:

Newsday.com

Buses will get power to turn traffic lights green

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

August 29, 2007

A pilot program starting next month will give buses the power to change red lights to green.

The technology, to be used on Staten Island, will link emitters on 300 buses to receivers atop 14 traffic lights along 2.3 miles of Victory Boulevard. It's designed to speed up service.

The devices will turn lights from red to green 7 seconds earlier if a bus is within about 120 feet of an intersection, city Department of Transportation spokesman Craig Chin said yesterday.

The program will begin at the end of September, Chin said. The technology will be incorporated into the city's planned Bus Rapid Transit project, a speeded-up bus service that will be introduced over the next two years in each borough.

Copyright © 2007, Newsday Inc.

Richard B, again. I still want one for my private vehicle, as per a long closed out string.

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I doubt any drivers even consider a red light camera ticket.

When/if crosstraffic has stopped for the EV, I would pull forward out of the way of the EV.

If I get a ticket, show the court the EV run report and have the ticket dismissed.

Stopped at a red signal, a man pulled forward out of the way of a responding fire truck behind him and was broadsided and killed.

At that same intersection, when necessary, I have always gone on other side of the median so no one is pressured to pull out into traffic.

P.S. I have a dash-mounted JVC 20 Gig Hard Drive camcorder recording while I am driving.

7 hours of video/audio . If not wanted, each driving segment is easily erased in two seconds!

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P.S. I have a dash-mounted JVC 20 Gig Hard Drive camcorder recording while I am driving.7 hours of video/audio . If not wanted, each driving segment is easily erased in two seconds!

You have the ability to erase, or does the company after they review it? Just curious.

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I work for AMR in Lancaster/Palmdale and we have something like 4 or 5 of those lights. We dont have many center medians here so when people dont move we can just oppose. I do love the cameras, gotta pose and say cheese. While on the subject of drivers, when people see an ambulance in there rearview mirror why is it they panic like its armagedon? They just cold stop in the middle of the road or pull to the left and not the right......Ill never understand it. But I had a officer follow me the other day and gave a ticket to a dummy that stopped in the middle of the road instead of pulling to the right. Awww gotta love it.

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You have the ability to erase, or does the company after they review it? Just curious.
This is on my own vehicle. Just in case anything ever happens. I'm also a tornado chaser so it comes in handy for that. It also easily unmounts so we use it for everything.

With no tape it should not wear out - I hope.

Got it as an Open Box Buy at Circuit City. Also, it has a 16:9 screen aspect so gets more side view.

I saw the police officer who was to be sued by 5 passengers in a vehicle he broadsided while L/S. They all claimed he ran a red signal and did not give them a chance to yield.

Unbeknownst to them, he had a dash cam which showed they were all lying. Officer had a stale green. They ran their red signal. Without that video, I guess the officer would have lost.

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