Written by Don Ratzlaff Wednesday, 20 February 2008 05:21
Sometimes the best news stories are the ones you don’t have to write because the tragedy didn’t happen. According to local emergency responders, tragedy was barely avoided last week when fire, ambulance and law enforcement personnel responded to a grass fire along U.S. Highway 56 near the K-15 intersection just west of Lehigh.
The problem? Passing motorists, some driving at or near the speed limit, were recklessly passing the emergency vehicles, who had warning lights flashing as they parked along the shoulder of the road. Many drivers, some identified as local, zipped past the emergency vehicles apparently without thought of the potential danger their speeding vehicles posed.
Either these drivers were ignorant of the current state law, or they were idiots. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say they were ignorant.
So, here is the law as it pertains to emergency vehicles, effective July 1, 2007:
When an emergency vehicle is flashing its red lights and/or sounding its siren, all other vehicles must pull over to the right and come to a stop—regardless of whether the emergency vehicle is coming toward you or approaching from behind.
When approaching an emergency vehicle that is stopped ahead with its lights flashing, do so cautiously. Motorists are required by Kansas law to change lanes away from the emergency vehicle if they are on a multi-lane highway and can do so safely. If drivers can’t change lanes safely, or they are on a two-lane highway, they must slow down while maintaining a safe speed so as not to impede other traffic.
That’s the law, folks. So now that you’re no longer ignorant... don’t be an idiot. —DR