Emergency Vehicles and the Right-of-Way in Arizona

12815(3)Recently, a collision between a fire truck and a passenger car made headlines in Phoenix after the accident caused injuries to three young children in the car. While the facts surrounding that incident remain unclear at this time, it has spurred a discussion about the laws in Arizona regarding the right-of way-and who has it when emergency vehicles are present.

When an emergency vehicle is in the area, the rules regarding normal right-of-ways may be suspended so that emergency vehicles can proceed in any direction they need. This is governed by Arizona law and all motorists in the Phoenix area are legally obligated to follow the rules when a vehicle with lights and sirens activated is near.

Generally, if any type of emergency vehicle, including a fire truck, ambulance, and police vehicle, drivers are required to immediately yield the right-of-way. Further, they must pull their vehicles as close as possible to the right hand side of a road and remain stopped in that location until after the emergency vehicle has passed them.

However, if a police officer is in the area and directs a motorist to act in another manner, the driver should obey the directions of the police officer until the emergent situation has passed.

Another common situation presents itself when an emergency vehicle is not moving but rather is stopped stationary on the side of the road or in an intersection. This often happens when an emergency vehicle responds to the scene of a car accident or when a police officer stops a car for a possible traffic infraction. In those instances, drivers should not stop their own cars but instead should proceed, slowing their speed and moving over one lane if at all possible to leave space between the stopped emergency vehicle and a passing car. Commonly known as the “Move Over” law, this rule kicks in when a first responder is stopped on the side of the road with at least one emergency light activated.

If you drive in Phoenix, remember that these emergency vehicles serve a vital purpose in supporting public safety. Allow them to do their jobs efficiently by following the rules, yielding the right-of-way, and moving over one lane where appropriate and never impede an emergency vehicle’s progress.

If you were involved in a collision and you were injured, know that you may be entitled to seek financial payment for the harms you suffered. Bringing a claim against an at-fault driver, an insurance company, a city, municipality, corporation, or other entity may be possible. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. toll free at (855) PHX-LAWYER, locally at (602) 819-5191, or online and let us provide you with a case consultation regarding your crash. There is no obligation or fee for speaking with us and we have an attorney available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help you.

If you have questions, we have answers. Call Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let us fight for the relief you deserve.

Prior Blog Entry:

A Car Accident Happened: Now What?, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published December 7, 2015.