First responders urge drivers to pay attention, yield to lights/ - FOX34 Lubbock

First responders urge drivers to pay attention, yield to lights/sirens

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

A LPD officer and another driver, injured in a wreck Monday, while the officer was responding 'Code 3' to a call. 

The crash was at 82nd and Slide. Both the officer and a woman driving the other vehicle were hospitalized with minor injuries. Police report the officer was headed west on 82nd with lights and sirens, and the other vehicle headed south on Slide did not yield the right of way to the emergency vehicle.

While both drivers will be okay, It is a reminder to always be alert. 

Both Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe and Fire Division Chief Steve Holland urge drivers to pay attention.

"By standard, everything is always yield to the right when possible," Rowe said. 

Rowe said that does not always happen, which leads to wrecks. 

"I can safely say it's between four and six very key instances that took place," Rowe said. "Typically it's been issues at intersections, a lot of times, but none or less, it does happen. It happens more frequently than we care for too." 

Rowe said a lot of new vehicles actually make it harder to hear outside noise, including sirens.

"Those sirens are made to be loud, but there's still going to be certain limitations that are going to prevent drivers from hearing them," Rowe said.

One of those limitations, your radio. Rowe urges drivers to make sure the music is not too loud and phones are put away. 

"The more drivers are paying attention to their surroundings, the quicker they can identify and see that they've got an emergency vehicle approaching them, the more opportunities or options they'll have to safely yield," Rowe said.

For Lubbock Fire Rescue, Holland said firefighters are re-certified in emergency driving every three years. 

"All of our equipment operators are required to go through now what we call our driver operator," Holland said. "So they're actually certified by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection." 

Even though Texas law allows first responders to speed or run lights, Holland said it is not LFR's policy.

"We don't exceed the speed limit," Holland said. "We come to a complete stop if the lights red, or if it's a stop sign, look both ways before we proceed to make sure everybody has come to a complete stop and the roadway is clear." 

New technology in traffic signals allows red lights to turn green when an emergency vehicle is approaching with lights and sirens. 

"It's imperative that drivers do pay attention to that, that they yield the right away to us and let us get to where were going because seconds always count," Rowe said.

There is a 'Move Over/Slow Down' law in Texas. It requires drivers to do so when emergency vehicles are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights on. Violations carry a fine up to $200. 

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