In Rhode Island, when an emergency vehicle has its lights and sirens on, you must yield to that vehicle. Failure to do so can result in a traffic ticket being issued against you and a very significant fine. Rhode Island General Laws 31-17-6 provides an impertinent part that:
“(a) Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle equipped with at least one lighted lamp exhibiting any one or combination of red, blue, or white light visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of five hundred feet (500′) to the front of the vehicle, and producing an audible signal by siren, exhaust whistle, or bell, the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in that position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer.
(b) This section shall not operate to relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.”
To be held liable for this ticket, the prosecution must generally prove three elements:
First, it must be proven by clear and convincing evidence that the emergency vehicle had its emergency lights on. It is not necessary that it be proven that the lights were actually visible from a distance of 500 feet, but only that the lights when activated, could normally be seen from that distance. Second, it must be proven that the emergency vehicles also had their sirens on. Lastly, the prosecutor must be able to show that the operator of the emergency vehicle was operating the vehicle with due regard for others on the road.
Have You Been Cited With A Traffic Ticket For Failure To Yield To An Emergency Vehicle?
If you have been issued a ticket for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, it is important that you speak with a skilled attorney. Attorney Noah Kilroy, as a former prosecutor, has litigated hundreds of traffic tickets. He uses this past experience to fight for his clients. Call our Providence office today for a free consultation at 401-855-9023.