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ASK A COP: Do officers have to abide by the rules of the road?

ASK A COP: Do officers have to abide by the rules of the road?

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Q. Are state troopers, or any other officers, allowed to speed down the highway? I always see them flying down the left lane well above the speed limit. I always thought it was allowed so they can patrol different areas of traffic but I’m reading that cops aren’t allowed to speed unless responding to a call or pursuing someone with their lights and sirens on. When can these rules be broken? I can’t seem to find a straight answer.

A. Within the state of Nebraska, authorized emergency vehicles are given special privileges in regards to breaking the Rules of the Road. This doesn’t mean drivers of emergency vehicles can ignore the rules of the road while operating in a non-emergent response.

When the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle is responding to an emergency call or pursuing an actual or suspected violator of the law, these Rules of the Road exceptions apply. The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle may: stop, park, or stand, irrespective of the provisions of the rules, and disregard regulations governing direction of movement or turning in specified directions, proceed past a steady red indication, flashing red indication, or a stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation, and exceed the maximum speed limits so long as he or she does not endanger life, limb or property.

These exceptions do not relieve the driver from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons, nor shall such provisions protect such driver from the consequences of his or her reckless disregard for the safety of others.

Q. Do you have to stop for police and fire vehicles or just slow down?

A. Nebraska statute states upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle which makes use of proper audible or visual signals, the driver of any other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediate 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 such position until such emergency vehicle passes unless otherwise directed by any peace officer.

Any pedestrian using such roadway shall yield the right-of-way until such emergency vehicle passes unless otherwise directed by any peace officer.

So to answer your question, all drivers are required to stop upon the approach of emergency vehicles. One thing to be mindful of is the presence of multiple emergency vehicles. Generally speaking, multiple emergency vehicles will be headed to the same call. While you are stopped for one emergency vehicle approaching, be sure to look around for a second or even third before you begin driving again.

Each week, Sgt. Krisa Brass will answer questions submitted by Star-Herald readers. Send questions for consideration to youasked@starherald.com or by leaving your question at 308-632-9057.

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