Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Authorized Emergency Vehicles Only" sign means me, not you.

Today, as I was out checking on my crop of new rookies, I had occasion to use one of our emergency turn-around strips that goes between two opposing lanes of a highway. This particular one is fairly long and it runs between two long hedgerows so that the vehicles traversing it are not readily apparent to oncoming traffic in either direction. naturally it's great for radar/laser work and other traffic-monitoring activities.

But today it was just supposed to be a way for me to quickly reach the scene of a new officer's traffic stop, saving me the trouble of going all the way up to the next exit and back. However, as I turned into this lane from one direction, what did I encounter but a Mercedes SUV coming the other way!

I stopped.
The Mercedes stopped.
My overhead lights came on and my ticket pen came out.
The woman driving the Mercedes buried her face in her hands, certain that her day was about to get expensive.
It did. To the tune of $275.00 plus $50.00 more for not wearing her seat belt.

Those cross-over lanes, folks? Those are for us, not the general public. We take it kinda personal when people presume to encroach upon our exclusive domain. And besides that, they're not set up to allow the average person to safely exit and re-enter traffic. So please, save us the aggravation and yourselves the risk and the fines if we catch you, and just go up to the next exit like you're supposed to.

This has been a public service announcement from Sgt. Krupke.


suz said...

Trade in the Mercedes for a brain and maybe some manners?

HonkingAntelope said...

"if we catch you"

Truer words could not have been spoken!

Dan said...

I have used the lanes before in my ambulance and got REAMED by State Troopers. We were returning from a call (back in response district), and saw an accident on the opposite side of the road-- it was state trooper territory, but we likely would still get the call, so instead of sending the truck from the station, we just doubled back. He was coming down the left most lane and was a little surprised to see us peeking out from the other side...
I've also done it with patients before-- as they decompensate, we change hospital destinations...

Sergeant Krupke said...

I've always considered an ambulance (actually on a call) to be an "emergency vehicle" for purposes of the sign.

Oh, and Antelope...we may not catch everyone, but the ones we do catch usually wind up paying the fare for the ones we miss.

constant listener said...

I'm assuming that you're in Cali. Here in Michigan, the signs don't have "Emergency" on them so tow trucks, ambulances, DOT and other State vehicles can use them if needed. I have done so once in my non LE State car.

BTW - nail as many fools as you can that do this. I see it WAY too often here, especially if there is a traffic backup.

Shalom said...

Could be worse, here in Jersey if there's a backup I've seen 'em drive right across the grassy median. They don't even wait until the next crossover.

I remember once all traffic getting roadblocked by police cars on the southbound Garden State Parkway local lanes, for no apparent reason. The express lanes were still open, though, so a bunch of motorists in a hurry cut across the divider into the express lanes, where they were promptly nabbed by several more patrol cars on that side. These then proceeded to block all the traffic there as well.

They opened the road back up in about five minutes; I saw no evidence of any collisions, etc. when I passed. I have no explanation for that, but one supposition: there's a US Navy railroad that connects Weapons Station Earle to the deep-water pier in Sandy Hook Bay, which crosses under the Parkway right past that spot. Possibly there was a train loaded with ordnance passing through, and they didn't want civilians in the area until it passed.