Bay Area Drivers Need to Respect Emergency Vehicles

Lamonte Dewindt
Sports Editor

Last Sunday evening while I was out eating in downtown Hayward I saw something not too out of the ordinary.

Sirens were blaring as a fire truck was driving by, and as usual drivers in the city of Hayward did not pull over or stop for the vehicle, they basically treated it like any other car.

As the fire truck is driving by all of a sudden I hear a crash, as I look I notice that the fire truck ran into an SUV and it sat in the middle of B Street and Foothill Boulevard with a left side of the car ruined as it took a strong blow from the truck.

Now I am not writing this to blame the fire truck driver for hitting the woman because he could not have anticipated this, but an accident such as this should be a wakeup call for the city of Hayward and for all Bay Area residents.

Pull over for emergency vehicles.

Every day that I am out in the streets of the Bay Area, I watch as emergency vehicles are forced to blare their horns at traffic continuously as cars refuse to move out the way or see the cars coming and choose to speed through the intersections instead of stopping or pulling off to the side as they are supposed to.

The good thing was both passengers of the SUV were fine as well as the firefighters but the potential implications could have been worse.

Because the fire truck had to stop and make sure that situation was settled they were not able to make it to their house call, which for all we know could have been a car crash where a vehicle was on fire or even a house fire where lives could have been at stake.

Now these may seem like worst case scenarios but that is what these emergency vehicles are usually facing when called upon.

According to average response time for an emergency vehicle is between four and five minutes for the city of Hayward but if citizens fail to pullover and make officers and those who are attempting to save lives wait in traffic those times could increase.

Growing up in Southern California with an older father I always appreciated the way drivers respected ambulances and always pulled over for them.

I always made sure I did the same. One day you or someone you love may be in that ambulance,  and you are going to expect every car to pull over for that ambulance as it is coming to your location and because you will need to get to the hospital as quickly as possible.

These are the men and women who risk their lives every day in order to protect you and need the free roads in order to properly serve the community.

The Department of Motor Vehicles rulebook clearly states under section 21806:  The operator of every street car shall immediately stop the street car, clear of any intersection and remain stopped until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed.

Just pull over, because one day when the cars don’t pull over for you, you are going to wish they did.