I just read the lates release on the crash the other day. I am wondering what others think.. by having those pre-emptive devices installed, do they seriously think it will curtail the crashes? Notice I said CRASHES.. not MVA. MVC.
First of all, we don't have the option of utilizing an Opticom system. If this is what they're using in Chicago I know you can buy them on e-bay and use them to get to work much faster than somebody without one, so that kind of ruins things. Second, our state law here in the southeast clearly says you must yield the right of way to an approaching emergency vehicle. There is no requirement to pull over to the right and in the case of five lane roads with a center left turn lane, most traffic in the left lane pulls into that lane to allow you to pass, to their right. I teach a lot of EVOC and we have to get our people here to get out of that mind set....basic rules are, drive defensively and watch/plan for what the others are doing on the roadway. AND SLOW DOWN!
No, being able to change the colour of a light will not solve speeding issues, perhaps only make them worse. I do believe they are a great idea, hell some of our city busses have them (and we don't). One of our old townships used to have them, and if you approach the intersection too fast, they do not work (you are already through it or on top of it before it has a chance to work). You still must use diligence in intersections, there can still be vehicles trying to race the yellow/red, there can still be vehicles turning right and into your lane, there are still people, bikes, kids, animals, etc, etc. Speeding is an issue all on its own. Drive under control, whatever that takes. If it means you arrive 10 seconds later, then at least you arrive. Get to the call, don't be the call!
If the problem is speed, why not govern the engines of the apparatus to the highest speed limit in your district? Nearly all apparatus engines are diesel and can be set at whatever speed you want it to be able to go. I know they do this with school buses all the way down to 45 MPH, so why not fire apparatus? The real problem here is driving with DUE REGARD, 100 percent of the time. Not blowing intersections, staying in our lane, using our heads is the key to reducing LODD. You can have a truck going 15 MPH and still have disastrous results if it blows an intersection not using due regard for the public. So I personally don't see speed as a problem as much as general reckless driving by many responders, and that must end.
As I stated earlier. I came from the Opticom / Tomar region of Illinois. They worked to a point. Around the Holidays, it became more dangerous. Also I stated the typical driver now does not always stop when the light turns red. They are on their Cell, distracted from driving, and they missed the green to yellow to red change and drive right through. This covers the "Go on Green, Go Faster on Yellow, and at least three more cars on Red" statement. If you haven't experienced this phenomena, then your doing good. You still must slow down and proceed with caution on Green Lights. Remember, Cell Phones are great! They Distract perfectly. Most cars are sound proofed to the point that air horns do not penetrate.
A Stone Park, IL. Firefighter was killed six years ago when his engine was struck by another engine going through a traffic pre-emptive controlled light. The wreck of two St. Louis Telesquirts teo to three years ago when one went through a Red. And we can go on with at least a dozen more, some on controlled lights, some not.
The driver coming into an intersection, controlled or not, should make EYE CONTACT with ALL of the drivers in that intersection. He / She must have the driver's window open about an inch or more to hear the cross traffic noise, inclusive of our Sirens and Horns. The Officer backs up the driver with this same action. If he doesn't, he is contributing to one of the small steps of an impending disaster. A One Blinker Town, or Chicago, the number of lights does not matter. It is the Attitude of the Operator and the Officer making the decision to unsafely travel through the intersection without due caution.