I read an article this morning about a very unusual emergency responder situation. As an Atlanta truck injury lawyer, I can say that I have never heard of a situation quite like this.
A flatbed truck in Nevada that was carrying bees, yes bees, and was pulled over on the side of the road. The driver said that his truck then became unstable as the road fell out from under his truck and tipped-over spilling the bees out into the area. Emergency responders arrived and the scene, but state troopers, sheriff’s deputies and firefighters were stung — some of them more than once. The truck driver will not be cited and he was not stung.
This situation got me thinking about the many times I have seen many motorists traveling in different types of vehicles, that seem to be unaware of their role when an emergency responder is trying to either get to the scene or is at the scene of an accident. Because there can be very serious consequences for those involved in the emergency, I think it is important to remind readers about Georgia’s rules with regard to emergency vehicles.
Our duty as drivers requires that we avoid emergency and road personnel who are on the shoulder of the road. Our duty to allow emergency vehicles to pass is actually quite critical in ensuring that the emergency vehicles can get to the scene of a motorvehicle crash or other medical emergency, fire or crime in progress.
Unfortunately, I often see drivers who seem to ignore the sirens and drive normally when an emergency vehicle has its siren and / or lights on. This is a very dangerous practice for all. And it is prohibited by Georgia law.
When drivers come upon a scene in which there are emergency vehicles pulled over the shoulder, Georgia’s Move Over Law requires drivers to safely move over on lane to ensure the safety of those working on the side of the road. Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-16 requires this move over and if that is not possible, the driver is required to reduce speed. A failure to comply, can lead to a fine of not more than $500. This is intended to protect first responders, those involved in Georgia’s road maintenance. The law was enacted because there have been serious injuries and even fatalities when our police, fire or maintenance workers are doing their jobs to keep us safe.
Similarly, Official Code of Georgia section 40-6-74 sets out a driver’s duty to yield to emergency vehicles. That provision states that: “(a) Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle or a vehicle belonging to a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency making use of an audible signal and visual signals meeting the requirements of Code Section 40-6-6, 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 edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in such position until the authorized emergency vehicle or law enforcement vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer.”
The failure-to-yield to emergency vehicles can result in accident and injury. Please remember the rules of the road and watch and listen for sirens and responder vehicles on the road’s shoulder. Follow the rules and be safe.
If you have been injured in a truck accident or other vehicle crash, Atlanta personal injury lawyer is here to help you. Please contact our offices for a free evaluation of your case. I will help you and your family in any way I can through the process of recovery from accident and injury.