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The Law Offices of Frank J. Dito, Jr.

Emergency Vehicle Safety in the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law

Frank J. Dito, Jr.
Car accident, personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney serving Staten Island and Brooklyn New York.

An authorized emergency vehicle is authorized to have certain special permissions under New York law. Below are some of the provisions granted to authorized emergency vehicles under Section 1104 in the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law.

The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle may:

  1. Stop, stand or park irrespective of the provisions of this title;
  2. Proceed past a steady red signal, a flashing red signal or a stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation;
  3. Exceed the maximum speed limit as long as he/she does not endanger life or property;
  4. Disregard regulations governing directions of movement or turning in specified directions

Section 1104 goes on to further state the following:

  • Except for an authorized emergency vehicle operated as a police vehicle, the exemptions herein granted to an authorized emergency vehicle shall apply only when audible signals are sounded from any vehicle while in motion by bell, horn siren, electronic device or exhaust whistle as may be reasonably necessary, and when the vehicle is equipped with at least one lighted lamp so that from such vehicle, at least one red light will be displayed and visible;
  • The foregoing provisions shall not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with regard for the safety of all persons, not shall such provisions protect the driver from the consequences of his reckless disregard for the safety of others; and​
  • Notwithstanding any other law, rule or regulation to the contrary, an ambulance operated in the course of an emergency shall not be prohibited from using any highway, street or roadway; provided, however, that an authority having jurisdiction over any such highway, street, or roadway may specifically prohibit travel hereon by ambulances if such authority shall deem such travel to be extremely hazardous and would endanger patients being transported thereby.

The New York Vehicle and Traffic Law clearly states that a New York emergency vehicle must try to uphold the safety of other people around them even in an emergency situation. This includes when speeding and when proceeding through red lights or stop signs. Failure to do so could be considered reckless and negligent behavior if someone gets injured or killed or if property damage occurs.

For additional information if you or a loved one has been injured by a New York emergency vehicle contact Staten Island injury lawyer Frank J. Dito Jr. at 718-701-2776.