Emergency vehicles & rules of the road

TILTON, Ill. (WCIA) -- You might think they have the right-of-way, but even emergency vehicles have to obey the rules of the road.

A firefighter was ticketed after a tanker truck and car collided at the intersection of Route 1 and Ross Lane. The driver of the car and two firefighters were taken to the hospital after the accident. All are expected to be okay.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about how the firetruck driver could have been ticketed since his lights and siren were alerting drivers they were on the way to an emergency.

It seems, emergency vehicles don't have the right-of-way if the traffic light is red. Cars are supposed to yield, but emergency vehicles must also slow down to make sure the way is clear before crossing others' paths.

The driver of the emergency vehicle has to pay attention to everyone on the road.

"We have to proceed with caution. If we have to stop, we stop. Then, if it's clear, we go on."

It started with a fire in Westville. The fire department realized water was in short supply.

"We have two towers, one north and one south and they were getting very low."

The village president told the fire chief to call for help. 22-other departments came to the rescue. When the Kickapoo Department got to town, there was an accident.

The firetruck was driving up to a red light with its lights and sirens on. The driver of a minivan didn't see it. The vehicles collided.

"Usually, if they don't hear you or see you, and then they look up, they'll be startled. Traffic laws for us, you have to obey the traffic laws pretty much."

State police issued the driver of the tanker truck a ticket for disobeying a traffic control. The Westville fire chief, who also doubles as a police officer, says it's the law.

"You don't have the right-of-way. You have to stop and proceed with caution. Most times, if you're seen, they'll come to a stop or they'll slow down and let you go through. If they don't, you must stop."


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