New York Apparatus Gets Full Right-of-Way

New York Apparatus Gets Full Right-of-Way

Fire apparatus in New York City now has the right-of-way returning from as well as going to fires. Fire Commissioner Edward F. Cavanagh, Jr., announced the policy early this summer as the first step in a drive to enforce observance of traffic laws.

Fire equipment responding to emergencies has had the right of way; the order extending the provision to apparatus returning rescinds a directive of 1953, requiring that rolling equipment observe traffic signals when returning to quarters.

The old orders, according to Mr. Cavanagh, created “an undesirable situation” in some areas of the city where fire engines remained standing at red lights when there was no other traffic. He predicted the new measure would reduce traffic accidents.

The new order called upon firemen operating apparatus to “drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the streets.” The only exception to the new ruling will be when operators of fire engines face “impenetrable congestion” when returning to quarters. They will then use good judgement and proceed with utmost caution.

Studies have found, according to the Commissioner, that there is no advantage in having equipment stop at red lights. On the contrary, he said, the policy has resulted in “misunderstanding and confusion” for motorists who see a fire engine on one occasion stop for a light and on another going through a red light on the way to a fire.

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