Shameful driving

Letters to the editor

Posted: Friday, September 24, 2004

What does life cost these days? Is it more important to get to work on time than it is to save a life? I am writing in regard to the multiple-car accident that occurred on Tuesday, Sept. 21, around 7:45 in the morning. I, along with a passenger in my car that morning, were among the other vehicles at a dead stop on Egan heading toward town. I am appalled at some of the local drivers here and their inability to pay attention when emergency vehicles were trying to get through to the scene of the accident.

I witnessed an ambulance and a fire truck with emergency lights activated attempting to get through the traffic. Although traffic was stopped, there was room on either side for vehicles to pull off the roadway to allow the ambulance and fire truck to pass, yet only a few vehicles moved to the shoulder. After several attempts by the ambulance blowing its horn and flashing its lights, an EMS personnel from the ambulance had to jump out and direct vehicles to the side of the road so they could get through.

Since when is it an EMS personnel's responsibility to direct traffic? Isn't it our responsibility as a driver to move to the side of the road and let emergency vehicles get through? In the amount of time that it took that ambulance and fire truck to get through traffic it could have cost someone their life. Luckily there were no serious injuries involved in the accident and the unnecessary delay didn't cost someone their life.

It should not have taken an EMS personnel to tell people on the road to move. As it states in the driver manual issued by the state of Alaska's Division of Motor Vehicles: "all traffic must yield the right-of-way and pull over to the curb or side of the street or highway, clear of intersections and must stop." Why wasn't this happening? We are licensed drivers, and the emergency vehicles depend on us to do our job, and move out of the way so they can do their jobs. I would hope that I can speak for all drivers, by saying that if the shoe were on the other foot, if it were us in an accident; we would want others to move for emergency vehicles to get through, especially if it were our lives on the line.

Erin Rackley


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