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  1. #1
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    Default What is everyone opinion on the New NY State proposed blue light legislation?

    The new NY state blue light proposed legislation requires motorists to yield the right of way to responding volunteer fire fighters and volunteer ems workers displaying eaither a blue or green (ems) light. Is everyone for or against it? I personally think that a few people will take advantage of it and ruin it for everyone else who only use it when absolutley nessacery but that goes along with everything else.. Does anyone have more information about this proposed legislation? on NY state's website it says the legislation was fowarded to the transportation department in January of 2004


  2. #2
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Sorry, I just couldn't pass that up. New York has had Blue lights on POVs for years (or so I'm told) so what's new? Some people will grant the right of way, others won't. The "some idiot will ruin it" arguement has been going on forever, but nothing has come of it. Biggest thing is that: 1. The light is optional, if you don't want it, don't use it. And 2. If the FD doesn't want a member using a light, then don't let them use a light.
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    Forum Member HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
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    HWoods, before the lights were just a curtesy device, identifying you as a vol FF or EMT. other motorists could just point and laugh. I think what this law is doing is making it mandatory to yeild to a vol with blue or green lights on.
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    If more states start following NY I think I'll buy some stock in Whelen and Code 3. I'd make a fortune.

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    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is everyone opinion on the New NY State proposed blue light legislation?

    Originally posted by Ericb410
    Is everyone for or against it?
    Yes...everyone is for or against it.

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    Originally posted by DrParasite
    I think what this law is doing is making it mandatory to yeild to a vol with blue or green lights on.
    My question is, who's going to enforce it?

  7. #7
    Senior Member UsingAllHands's Avatar
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    Originally posted by DrParasite
    other motorists could just point and laugh.

    Other firemen (like me) point and laugh too!

    Seriously, blue lights (both under the current "courtesy" law and proposed law) are not a good idea. All they are is a recipe for disaster. Even if you're allowed to use them, don't do it.

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    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Persoanlly, it would be nice in utopia if everyone cleared the highway when anything with a blinking light came along. But all the laws in the world are not going to make people more observant. Regardless of a law requiring them to pull over, if they do great. If they don't, I am not going to try and write down the license plate of the car while driving to the call.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Let's get everyone to stop and pull over for the red lights first, then maybe they'll do the same for the blue lights.

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    Originally posted by FB1138
    Let's get everyone to stop and pull over for the red lights first, then maybe they'll do the same for the blue lights.
    I hear you on that one. It's amazing how oblivious some motorists can be to fire engines behind them with lights and sirens going. Besides that, the law in NY requires all motorists to pull to the far right side of the road and come to a complete stop. It's rare that I see someone come to a complete stop. They usually just pull over a little to the right and slow down just enough for us to pass. Motorists can't even get the laws right for the emergency vehicles with red lights now. There is no way all the idiot drivers on the road are going to understand what to do if they have to yield the right of way to a blue light. Now, on the subject of blue lights. Blue lights were originally only for identifying yourself as a fireman at a fire scene. I think that's the only thing blue lights should be used for. Besides, if it were to ever be made law that you must yield right of way to a blue light, I would assume that would mean they could have sirens too. You certainly don't need volunteer firefighters running around town with blue lights and sirens roaring. I guarantee that would greatly increase the incidents of auto accidents and probably **** off the town/village/city residents because of all the extra noise.

  11. #11
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    You are right, people will take advantage of it. I am a volunteer and I do have a blue light. The difference is that I rarely ever use the thing, especially not for some smells & bells call. Most of us firefighters are level headed and have enough maturity and intelligence to know when to use one. I would say that I do support that NY legislation. But, there is no doubt in my mind that some 'whackers' will definately abuse it. Such is life I suppose.
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    I run EMS and unfortunately some of us are in areas where response times are scrutinized closely. I think that any chance we have to improve response times is a good thing. We are trying to get on scene times less than 9 minutes and that can be hard if it takes you five minutes to get to the rig.

    Of course we have to use our heads and be safe about it. I'm sure it won't make a huge difference but I'll take any help I can get.

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    I run EMS and unfortunately some of us are in areas where response times are scrutinized closely. I think that any chance we have to improve response times is a good thing. We are trying to get on scene times less than 9 minutes and that can be hard if it takes you five minutes to get to the rig.

    Of course we have to use our heads and be safe about it. I'm sure it won't make a huge difference but I'll take any help I can get.

    Brian
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  14. #14
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    after reading everything on here for four years, I am FINALLY taking the plunge and posting...

    The problem with the blue light from a LEGISLATIVE point of view is quite simply the ambiguity. On here, we know that in, say, Ohio, the volunteer firefighter is afforded full emergency vehicle status for their vehicle- legal right of way, siren required- the works. In New York or other similar states, a permit is required to put a light on that is no more effective than flashing one's high beams on the dash or roof of one's car.

    Now I don't know which one is the answer- one must admit that an emergency is just that, and in essence, the fact that I am permitted to drive the truck to a call code-3 should allow me to drive my POV by the same rules to get to that truck- what's the point of lights and sirens for only half the trip? At the same time, as this argument has been hashed out over and over and over again and the consequences of such actions could be tragic.

    But- the blue light, as it sits as a courtesy light is pointless and dangerous- You step into any emergency rig and what is the law regarding lights? "Lights on, siren on." There are different standards state to state, county to county, station to station

    I'm not leaning one way or another here- I am just pointing out that the ambiguity is puzzling here- Joe Public doesn't know to pull over for red, blue, green, purple or yellow. Is it an emergency vehicle? Then give it full rights. If it is not an emergency vehicle, take the stupid light off. The blue light can be a huge asset in the hands of those who are TRAINED to drive under emergency conditions and are trustworthy to know they will not abuse it. The same can be said about full emergency status, but is the risk worth the benefit? It'll be a cold day down south before I start "Wackering out" my personal truck, but lets have some laws (especially those regarding safety) work across the board.

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    I think many people will abuse it if they abuse a blue light currently and its only a courtesy light I can just imagine what they would do if they knew they could have the right of way at the flip of a switch. I also have a ONE blue light in my car that I rarly use, I personally think in most cases it is faster to get there without a blue light then with. I am currently undecided if I am for or against this law.

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    Mikey, nice light bar. Get me one for my pickup. No, it might clash with the maroon.
    I do have a blue light and use it only occassionally, even though I have a 9 mile drive to one of our stations. When I do use it, it's because I want the cops to know I'm going to a call so that's why I'm driving 10 over the limit. I don't necessarily expect to get the right of way, but it is nice when I do.
    The law's a bad deal. It's not going to work any better than the courtesy expectation does now and a lot of guys are going to take advantage of it.
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  18. #18
    MembersZone Subscriber jthomas's Avatar
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    Originally posted by UsingAllHands
    Other firemen (like me) point and laugh too!


    Could we check the volly vs. paid/career attitude at the door for once please? With all due respect, AllHands, but it's not really germane or productive here.

    Seriously, blue lights (both under the current "courtesy" law and proposed law) are not a good idea. All they are is a recipe for disaster. Even if you're allowed to use them, don't do it.
    Do we have some stats on the contribution of running blue lights to having an MVA, vs. a car responding without? I'm just asking, I don't know. I would like to see some proof that running blue lights are, indeed, a "recipe for disaster".

    To ironmint's point, just a quick check of recent news shows that even Fire and EMS apparatus running under lights and siren are pretty good targets:
    Bronx Engine Crash
    Pompano Beach Crash
    SanDiego Ambulance

    I don't mean to lay blame on any of the brothers/sisters in these incidents, this just goes to show that running Code 3 under ANY circumstances is dangerous, and carrer FF are at risk as well.
    A different level of risk? Probably, but someone please show me the figures.

    Drinking and driving is another separate, but related issue, but I'm sure everyone knows this is not limited to only vollys, either. Not to pick on FDNY, it's a problem nationwide:
    New York Fire Commissioner Plans to Toughen FDNY Rules on Drug, Alcohol Abuse

    New York Firefighter Charged With DWI After Crashing Fire Truck Enroute To Fire

    I think the law mandating motorists yield to a blue or green light is good, in theory, but both the stories quoted above, and my personal experience has shown that motorists have trouble recognizing that they must yield to a full-blown Fire Engine- Q-Siren, lights and all. Would this law change anything in real life? I'm skeptical. Will a LOT of guys abuse this law? I believe the vast majority would use it in good faith. However, there will be the usual whacker idiots who sill abuse it- I have a feeling they will be the same ones who abuse the blue lights already.

    At a MINIMUM, to protect the fire companies to a degree, I believe training in Emergency Vehicle Operations should be MANDATORY prior to allowing a blue light response under this law. Also, a driver's record check should be required. These measures should give at least some assurance that responding members are properly trained, and the habitual traffic offenders and drunk drivers are prevented from getting "blue light privleges"- whatever those may be.

  19. #19
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Default Hey Jack

    You should have a CHIEFS CAR. Or at least red lights and siren. Do you need me to make few calls to your trustees to "hook ya up" ?
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    MembersZone Subscriber ChiefReason's Avatar
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    So; as I understand it, the driving public will be required by law to yield to blue/green lights. What I have found over the years is that motorists will claim that they didn't SEE it, so they didn't yield. I guess they'll just get the ticket regardless now.
    With regards to some idiot ruining it? There should have been a provision in the law that says that if anyone abuses it, they will face a stiff fine and confiscation of the said light. For some, that will mean that their entire LIGHT BAR will be removed from their vehicle and sold at the police auction.
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