Mayor Ken Tedford issued a proclamation Monday morning designating March as Move Over for Emergency Vehicles Month.
The proclamation is intended to raise awareness of the need to move aside when an emergency vehicle has its lights and sirens on. Tedford recalled times he had seen an emergency vehicle racing to a call, and other vehicles barely pulling off the road or holding their lane and forcing them to go around.
“That’s why I started this program,” Tedford said. “People didn’t seem to be pulling over when these emergency vehicles were coming, and I didn’t understand that.”
He noted how dangerous it is not to pull over; aside from the risk of getting hit by a speeding ambulance, fire truck or police cruiser, failing to yield could also delay the responders reaching their call. The proclamation states that crucial seconds are saved when drivers move out of the way that could save a life or property.
While there are no hard statistics, Rick Gray, the marketing coordinator spearheading the campaign, said the consensus of first responders was that drivers aren’t paying attention when emergency vehicles are on the road.
He cited various reasons for the failure to yield could be that cars are more sound tight now and people like playing loud music while driving and don’t hear the sirens until it’s too late.
He also noted younger drivers don’t seem to know they’re legally required to move over. He also emphasized drivers need to move over regardless of which side of the road they’re on, unless it’s divided by a barrier.
“All (drivers) should pull to the right regardless,” Gray said.
Gray noted CCHS’s driver’s education program would focus on the problem with the current students.
Tedford and the city council hopes their campaign will help remind people that it doesn’t take long to move out of the way and the inconvenience is minor. It’s also Nevada state law to move over for emergency vehicles.
The city of Fallon is also sending mailers to residents, putting up banners around the city and working with area radio stations to promote the campaign. Social media is also being used to spread word.
“It’s kind of a multi-pronged approach for what’s going on,” Tedford said.