A Connecticut emergency vehicle has the right of way over all other vehicles on the road. This is the case when an emergency vehicle is responding to an emergency. Learn more about right of emergency vehicles here. You can also learn about the consequences you face for obstructing emergency vehicles.
Emergency Vehicle Priority
When emergency vehicles respond to an emergency, they have the right of way on all Connecticut roads. These vehicles and circumstances for preference of road access include:
- An emergency medical vehicle responding to an emergency call.
- A vehicle from the fire department responding to an emergency call or going to put out a fire.
- A local or state police vehicle responding to an emergency call, or pursuing someone breaking the law. A Department of Motor Vehicle inspector or police officer should be driving the vehicle.
- A vehicle from the Department of Corrections responding to an emergency call.
Those operating emergency vehicles in emergency situations have specific rights. They can:
- Park the vehicle anywhere necessary.
- Proceed through any stop sign or red light. Before they can do this, they must stop or slow down enough keep other drivers safe.
- Break the speed limit, so long as no one else is put in danger by action.
- Disregard driving regulations and statutes.
These exceptions to the driving laws can only occur when an emergency vehicle signals that it is responding to an emergency. The car must make a visible and audible sign that an emergency situation is occurring (usually through the use of flashing lights and a siren). If charged with obstructing the right of an emergency vehicle that did not properly signal an emergency situation, you can fight the charge.
All operators of emergency vehicles have to drive safely on the roads. While these drivers have the right of way, they can’t do anything that will endanger the wellbeing of other people on the roads and their property.
What You Should Do
When an emergency vehicle signals that it is responding to an emergency, all other vehicles driving in the vicinity need to pull over to the right hand curb and stop. All other vehicles need to stay stopped until the emergency vehicle passes. If your vehicle obstructs the road and prevents the fire department from extinguishing a fire, a fire department officer has the right to remove your vehicle.
If you obstruct the road and prevent an emergency vehicle from doing its job, whether knowingly or negligently, you face a fine of $200 and a jail sentence of up to seven days. Also, the DMV can assess up to 3 points against your driver’s license.
There are some defenses to obstructing the right of way of an emergency vehicle. If interested in fighting this charge, you should consult a motor vehicle violations lawyer. To talk to one of our lawyers during a free consultation, call our office at 203-567-6474.