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Crime Prevention: Traffic Safety Tip for March
 
 

The Code 3 Vehicle - "Please Abide, Move Aside"

PURPOSE

The purpose of this circular is to provide information to Department personnel and community members in order to enhance their knowledge and awareness of traffic enforcement and traffic safety issues. The information in this circular can be used for crime prevention meetings, community presentations, and enforcement efforts. The emphasis this month is on Code 3 Vehicles and the "Please Abide, Move Aside" Program, which is a Code 3 vehicle educational program created by the Sacramento Fire Department, and sponsored by the California Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

PRESENTATION

In the past five years, there have been nearly 200 traffic collisions involving Department vehicles responding Code 3. These traffic collisions have resulted in injuries to 41 citizens and 101 officers. As a result of the traffic collisions, the Department has endorsed the "Please Abide, Move Aside" Program. The program was created to educate the public and addresses three incidents when an emergency vehicle responding Code 3 may be encountered.

At an Intersection

If you hear a siren or see flashing lights at an intersection, you should:

  • Stop at the limit line or at the crosswalk if facing a red tri-light signal;
  • Yield the right-of-way when safely able to do so, which may mean driving through the intersection on a green tri-light prior to pulling over to the right;
  • Wait for all emergency vehicles to pass before getting back on the road. Remember, there may be more than one emergency vehicle responding Code 3; and
  • If the operator of the emergency vehicle requests you to move in a certain direction via the public address (PA) system, please do so expeditiously.

· DON’T panic!

· DON’T pull into the intersection on a red light!

· DON’T stop in the middle of the intersection!

On a Street

If you hear a siren or see flashing lights on a street, you should:

  • Pull over to the right when safely able to do so;
  • Slow down and stop to make a safe lane of passage for the emergency vehicle; and
  • If the operator of the emergency vehicle requests you to move in a certain direction via the PA system, please do so expeditiously.

· DON’T panic!

· DON’T stop in the middle of the road!

On a Freeway

If you hear a siren or see flashing lights on a freeway, you should:

  • Pull over to the right when safely able to do so;
  • Continue to move forward at a safe speed; and
  • If the operator of the emergency vehicle requests you to move in a certain direction via the PA system, please do so expeditiously.

· DON’T panic!

· DON’T stop on the freeway!

CODE 3 VEHICLE LAWS

The following California Vehicle Code (CVC) sections pertain to emergency vehicles responding Code 3:

  • 21806(a)(1) CVC When approached by an emergency vehicle, which is sounding a siren and displaying a forward facing red-light (Code 3), all vehicular traffic shall yield the right-of-way and drive to the right side of the roadway and stop until the emergency vehicle has passed.
  • 21806(a)(2) CVC When approached by an emergency vehicle that is responding Code 3 in a carpool lane, all vehicles shall exit the lane immediately.
  • 21806(c) CVC When approached by an emergency vehicle that is responding Code 3, all pedestrians upon the roadway shall yield the right-of-way and proceed to the nearest curb or place of safety and remain there until the emergency vehicle has passed.

DAILY TRAFFIC MISSION

The four traffic divisions of the Los Angeles Police Department have developed the following strategies to help educate the public and enforce California’s Code 3 emergency vehicle laws:

  1. Educate officers on the Department’s pursuit policy and related Vehicle Code sections;
  2. Educate the public regarding pursuits and Code 3 driving at neighborhood watch and Community-Police Advisory Board meetings;
  3. Educate the public via public service announcements on television and radio including non-English stations;
  4. Educate the Spanish speaking community via the "El Protector Azul Program;"
  5. Enforce existing laws, including those for loud noise, which may impair a driver’s ability to hear an emergency vehicle’s siren;
  6. Liaison with the Department of Motor Vehicles, private driving schools, high-school education programs, the Los Angeles Fire Department, and emergency service providers to educate the public; and
  7. Liaison with patrol divisions to provide additional training in Code 3 driving skills.

OFFICER & COMMUNITY RESPONSIBILITIES

It is the responsibility of all drivers and pedestrians to observe all traffic laws as described in the California Vehicle Code, and the daily mission of uniformed officers to ensure the safe movement of traffic and to enforce the traffic laws. These combined efforts will help ensure the safety of motorists throughout the City.

 
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