Collisions Between Passenger Cars and Emergency Vehicles Are On The Rise

July 19, 2004--Posted at 6:00 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO--Passenger cars ignoring sounds of sirens can become a deadly mistake.

Aaron Keller works at the Jonesboro Fire Department.

"We don't know what they are doing, and they don't know what we're going to do, so it becomes a tug of war,"said Keller.

Recently, collisions between emergency vehicles and passenger cars have been rising at an alarming rate.

Simply because people aren't paying attention, or they don't know what to do.

In fact, in April, doctors had to amputate Jonesboro Firefighter Tim Rook's left leg after the fire truck he was driving collided with an 18 wheeler.

"Get to the right if at all possible. If you are in a four lane, and you are on the inside lane clear your traffic. Do not pull into the turn lane because we are going to pass you on the left,"said Toby Emerson.

"If you are on a two lane street, for example, don't come to a complete stop in the road if an emergency vehicles still need to pull off to the right.

"You have got oncoming traffic, and you have now where to go, so you have to stop, and keep from hitting them if they stop too quick.,"said Emerson.

Traffic is dense throughout the day at busy intersections like this one at Highland and Caraway right here in Jonesboro. It's busy intersections like this one that cause emergency vehicles problems.

"If we come behind a big line that is stopped at a red light. A lot of times we will get into the opposing lane and ease through an intersection, but we can't do that if the oncoming traffic is still moving,"said Emerson.

These flashing lights caution traffic to slow down when approaching the fire station on Johnson Road.

Firefighters are able to turn these flashing lights red when they get an emergency call, but they still see people ignore the warning.

"They'll just run the red light. I've sat in intersections and seen them run the red lights,"said Keller.

Remember not to panic at the sighst and sounds of emergency vehicles.......however, it's important to respect their duty as they risk their own life to save a strangers.