Bill Would Require Va. Emergency Vehicles to Use Sirens With Lights - NBC4 Washington

Bill Would Require Va. Emergency Vehicles to Use Sirens With Lights



    Sirens Blaring, Lights Flashing Under Virginia Bill

    Sirens required during emergencies. That's part of a new bill by an Alexandria lawmaker. It comes in the aftermath of a deadly wreck at a local intersection. (Published Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010)

    A fatal crash causes Virginia to consider ordering emergency vehicles to stop at traffic signals.

    Lawmakers in Virginia are considering a bill requiring emergency vehicles to use their sirens as well as flashing lights when driving through red lights and stop signs.

    The measure comes in the aftermath of a fatal wreck in Alexandria involving a police officer on a cold evening in February 2008. A Fairfax County police officer was in pursuit of a shoplifting suspect north on Route 1. She had her emergency lights on but not her siren when she drove through a red at the intersection with Boswell Avenue and collided with another vehicle.

    Ashley McIntosh, a 33-year-old assistant in a Clermont Elementary School kindergarten class, was killed.

    Virginia State Sen. Toddy Puller, of Alexandria, is sponsoring a bill to protect motorists from emergency vehicles.

    "They will have to come to a complete stop at traffic controlled intersections," he said. "If they want to drive through four-way stop signs and red lights, they will need to sound their siren and their emergency lights, ideally."

    McIntosh's mother said if these restrictions had been the law in 2008 this tragedy could have been avoided.

    "My daughter would still be alive," Cindy Colasanto said.

    The Virginia Crime Commission has voted to endorse the bill.

    Some Virginia lawmakers representing rural areas are opposed to the requirement.

    The Fairfax County Police Department said its policy is not to comment on pending legislation but that whatever the outcome, its officers will follow the laws of Virginia.