Yesterday I was in an office on Broadway Blvd. when blaring sirens on the street outside drew my attention. There was a firetruck travelling east in the left-hand lane that was trying to get through traffic. Behind the firetruck, everyone had pulled to the right to allow the truck to pass. In front of the firetruck, however; a pickup truck was stubbornly holding it’s place in the left-hand lane. (It actually appeared that the driver was on a phone, but I cannot be certain.) With blaring horns and sirens from the firetruck, it still took far too long for that truck to move over and allow the emergency vehicle to pass.
For those that might have a question about this, it is a law. The specific statute is A.R.S. § 28-775. It states, basically, that emergency vehicles have the right-of-way. If you see one approaching, your duty is to move as far right as possible to allow safe/swift travel of said emergency vehicle. You are expected to remain in place until the emergency vehicle passes completely. Ignoring this statute is a violation that could result in a citation that could cost between $150 – $650 in fines and 2-8 points on your license, especially if the violation results in an accident. In the state of Arizona, criminal charges could be filed if the accident results in injury or death of emergency personnel or the person(s) on the roadside.
This statute is also known as the “Move Over” law. It doesn’t hurt to repeat this part, but the statute includes one of the things you hear from us often: Slow Down/Move Over. Basically, if you see a vehicle on the roadside with flashing lights, it is your duty as a licensed driver to slow down and move left. If you cannot safely make the lane change before approaching the vehicles on the roadside, it is expected that you will slow down and ensure you are passing safely.
In a sense, this post is about paying attention to your surroundings. What if that firetruck was heading to your burning home? What if the time it took for you to stall that emergency vehicle is the time necessary to save your loved one? It is our duty as licensed drivers to pay attention to the world around us, to make smart/safe choices while operating a vehicle, and set an example. If we choose to ignore the laws that are in place to protect us, the consequences can be far reaching and lot more painful that a citation or marks on our records. Please be safe out there!