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Emergency Lights Mean Move Over: 8 Cruisers Damaged in Accidents Since December

The following article was written by Michigan State Trooper Mike Sura, who answers questions about Michigan law in a weekly column.

This is by the numbers.  

Eight is the number of Michigan State Police Brighton Post Cruisers that have been damaged in patrol accidents since December.  These vehicles were fully marked with lights and emergency equipment activated.  

Seven of these accidents could have been prevented if the driver had changed lanes and given room for the emergency vehicle.  

Six of these incidents occurred in unfavorable weather conditions.  

Five of the accidents resulted in the rear bumper and back end of the cruisers having to be replaced.  

Four phone calls had to be made to spouses to let them know their Trooper was alright and would be home soon.  

Three times the same Sargent at our post had to file a report for a vehicle accident involving Troopers.  

Two, one Trooper was involved twice in a rear end collision.   

One, one good reason to move over and slow down.  

Michigan Vehicle Code 257.653a states in part the following, “upon approaching and passing a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is giving a visual signal by means of flashing, rotating, or oscillating red, blue, or white lights as permitted by section 698, the driver of an approaching vehicle shall exhibit due care and caution, as required under the following: (a) On any public roadway with at least two adjacent lanes proceeding in the same direction of the stationary authorized emergency vehicle, the driver of the approaching vehicle shall proceed with caution and yield the right-of-way by moving into a lane at least 1 moving lane or two vehicle widths apart from the stationary authorized emergency vehicle, unless directed otherwise by a police officer. If movement to an adjacent lane or tow vehicle widths apart is not possible due to weather, road conditions, or the immediate presence of vehicular or pedestrian traffic in parallel moving lanes, the driver of the approaching vehicle shall proceed as required in subdivision (b).(b) On any public roadway that does not have at least two adjacent lanes proceeding in the same direction as the stationary authorized emergency vehicle, or if the movement by the driver of the vehicle into an adjacent lane or two vehicle widths apart is not possible as described in subdivision (a), the approaching vehicle shall reduce and maintain a safe speed for weather, road conditions, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic and proceed with due care and caution, or as directed by a police officer.  

A person who violates this can be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable up to 90 days in jail and a $500 dollar fine.  A person who causes injury can be punished up to a 1 year in prison and $1,000 dollar fine.  A person who causes death can be punished up to 15 years in prison and 7,500 dollar fine.” 

The bottom line is if you see emergency lights give the emergency responder room to work.  The Troopers involved were stopped and policing accidents.  The last number I’ll throw at you is this, ZERO, zero Troopers were out of their vehicles when they were struck.  The injuries were thankfully minor, but imagine though if they weren’t in their vehicles, this might have been an entirely different article.     

If you have a questions or comments please email them to askatrooper12@gmail.com, or mail them to Ask A Trooper, Michigan State Police – Brighton Post, 4337 Buno Road, Brighton, MI  48116.

 

l.c. February 21, 2014 at 07:57 PM
too many offensive drivers & not enough defensive drivers.some drivers just can't slow down-don't think there is a solution except to keep out of their way by seeking alternate means of transportation,surface roads ,etc.cameras at intersections may help in removing some bad drivers.
Steve Woznicki February 22, 2014 at 10:28 AM
I can't believe people are so stupid that they don't know to try to safely get out of the way of an emergency vehicle. However, I drive I-75 everyday to work and am just abhorred at what I see. Young, and quite disturbingly, older drivers with absolutely no regard for emergency vehicles or even other vehicles on the road. It's disgusting how our society has become.
Lisa Wilson February 22, 2014 at 12:01 PM
People need to think of how they would feel if it was them who was awaiting the Police to show up as someone was breaking into there home. How would they feel if that officer had to slow down because some douche bag doesn't understand that you're suppose to move out of the way. How would they feel if it was them or there loved one having a heart attack and awaiting an ambulance and that ambulance has to slow down because some douche bag won't get out of its' way.
Michael S. February 22, 2014 at 02:22 PM
Sometimes it is not possible to change lanes to give stationary emergency vehicles the room they need. In this case the best advice I have gotten from an officer is to slow down. Also people who blare their music so loud that they cannot hear an emergency vehicle approaching and therefore cannot stop and let the vehicle pass should be ticketed. There is no excuse not to allow emergency vehicles the space they need to do their jobs. If you cannot do that you shouldn't be driving. Driving is a privilege not a right.
Timothy G. Mack February 23, 2014 at 01:31 PM
Sorry Trooper Sura, but over 50% of the problem is caused by the moronic locations that you troopers are pulling people over in.....NOT by the poor driving of the citizens. I see it repeatedly.....people are pulled over between exits on snow narrowed shoulders when they could just as easily be pulled over and then ordered up and off of the expressway onto a service drive or surface road/side street where there is plenty of room, less traffic, and considerably slower speeds. But no, you pull people over and then clog up the expressway thinking that flashing lights give you some sort of Moses-like powers to part the traffic seas! It is that arrogance that causes problems.....and traffic jams. I saw it just the other day on I-75 south.....a traffic back-up nearly to 14 Mile Road caused by a State Trooper having pulled over a car about 100 yards shy of the 11 Mile Road exit. And there was the Trooper standing in the road with a ticket in hand talking to a driver whose two left tires were barely off the road because of the snow narrowed shoulder. The trooper's squad car was "pulled over" in a similar fashion. You're not gods Trooper Sura.....the world doesn't stop because you have a badge and flashing lights. You are a civil servant.....get out of the way and protect the driver you pulled over, yourself, and the other drivers coming up the road at you. Don't turn the lights on to pull someone over until you are approaching an exit, order the driver up off of the expressway, and keep everyone safe. Quit being so arrogant just because you are a cop.
Ricardo Carlos Castro February 24, 2014 at 04:49 AM
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