Sunday, June 24, 2018
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Ryan: Motorists must yield to emergency vehicles

Fines could be result if not heeded.

When you see flashing red and blue emergency lights, pull your vehicle to the side of the road.

That’s the message law enforcement and emergency personnel are trying to get across to local motorists.

Ryan Randolph, who is an officer with the Gothenburg Police Department, said motorists in both lanes of traffic need to yield the right of way to emergency vehicles—including ambulances, fire trucks, police cars and fire and rescue personnel in personal vehicles.

“Pull to the curb and stop even if you’re on the opposite side of the roadway,” Randolph said.

Motorists not stopping for emergency vehicles have been a problem throughout the seven-plus years he’s been in Gothenburg, Randolph said.

“I don’t know if it’s inattention while driving or that people don’t know the law,” he said.

On Sunday, he said he was responding to a call concerning an infant who needed medical care and two vehicles failed to pull over on the opposite side of the street.

“When we come through, we come through in a hurry,” Randolph explained.

Fire chief Mark Ballmer said knowing motorists will pull over is one less thing emergency personnel need to watch for.

Because it’s a problem, Randolph said the police department plans to start citing motorists who don’t comply.

Violators will be fined $100 and pay $49 in court costs, he said.

“We’re looking out for the well being of everyone and it helps us do our job,” Randolph said.