Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Police Vehicles and the Law

Peter DeMarco had a great column in the Boston Globe recently on the laws affecting the operation of police vehicles.

Here are a few quotes about what police officers can't do. From Quincy Police Captain John Dougan, "We don't have the right of way all the time. Only when we're on a call. The rest of the time we're like regular citizens. We have to follow the rules of the road like everyone else." From Jack Collins, of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association. "Can an officer park in a handicapped space? Of course not."

The article goes on to highlight a few laws affecting emergency vehicles and our response to them:

1. "By law, police must still come to a complete stop before driving through a stop sign or red light." (Chapter 89, section 7B)

2. "Police vehicles must also stop for school buses loading or unloading children, unless otherwise directed by a traffic cop." (Chapter 90, section 14)

3. "If you intentionally get in an emergency vehicle's way you can be fined $50 or jailed for three months." (Chapter 89, section 7 and 7A)

More information on traffic laws is available at Mass. Law About Traffic Violations.