Senate Bill No. 1187

Public Act No. 01-59

AN ACT CONCERNING EMERGENCY VEHICLES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 14-283 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) "Emergency vehicle", as used in this section, means any ambulance or emergency medical service organization vehicle responding to an emergency call, any vehicle used by a fire department or by any officer of a fire department while on the way to a fire or while responding to an emergency call but not while returning from a fire or emergency call, [or] any state or local police vehicle operated by a police officer or inspector of the Department of Motor Vehicles answering an emergency call or in the pursuit of fleeing law violators or any Department of Correction vehicle operated by a Department of Correction officer while in the course of such officer's employment and while responding to an emergency call.

(b) The operator of any emergency vehicle may (1) park or stand such vehicle, irrespective of the provisions of this chapter, (2) proceed past any red light or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down or stopping to the extent necessary for the safe operation of such vehicle, (3) exceed the posted speed limits or other speed limits imposed by or pursuant to section 14-218a or 14-219 as long as [he] such operator does not endanger life or property by so doing, and (4) disregard statutes, ordinances or regulations governing direction of movement or turning in specific directions.

(c) The exemptions herein granted shall apply only when an emergency vehicle is making use of an audible warning signal device, including but not limited to a siren, whistle or bell which meets the requirements of subsection (f) of section 14-80, and visible flashing or revolving lights which meet the requirements of sections 14-96p and 14-96q, and to any state or local police vehicle properly and lawfully making use of an audible warning signal device only.

(d) The provisions of this section shall not relieve the operator of an emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons and property.

(e) Upon the immediate approach of an emergency vehicle making use of such an audible warning signal device and such visible flashing or revolving lights or of any state or local police vehicle properly and lawfully making use of an audible warning signal device only, the operator of every other vehicle in the immediate vicinity shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in such position until the emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a state or local police officer or fireman as provided in section 7-313a.

(f) Any officer of a fire department may remove, or cause to be removed, any vehicle upon any public or private way which obstructs or retards any fire department, or any officer thereof, in controlling or extinguishing any fire.

(g) Any person who wilfully or negligently obstructs or retards any ambulance or emergency medical service organization vehicle while answering any emergency call or taking a patient to a hospital, or any vehicle used by a fire department or any officer or member of a fire department while on the way to a fire, or while responding to an emergency call, or any vehicle used by the state police or any local police department, or any officer of the Division of State Police within the Department of Public Safety or any local police department while on the way to an emergency call or in the pursuit of fleeing law violators, shall be fined not more than fifty dollars or imprisoned not more than seven days or both.

(h) Nothing in this section shall be construed as permitting the use of a siren upon any motor vehicle other than an emergency vehicle, as defined in subsection (a) of this section, or a rescue service vehicle which is registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to section 19a-181.

Approved May 31, 2001