Sec. 25-132. Exemption of police, fire-fighting, etc., vehicles from regulations in certain emergencies.
(a) The driver of any emergency vehicle, when such vehicle is being used in the performance of public services, and when such vehicle is operated under emergency conditions, may, without subjecting himself to criminal prosecution:
(1) Proceed past any steady or flashing red signal, traffic light, stop sign or device indicating moving traffic shall stop if the speed and movement of the vehicle is sufficiently reduced to enable it to pass a signal, traffic light or device with due regard to the safety of persons and property;
(2) Park or stop notwithstanding the other provisions of this chapter;
(3) Disregard regulations governing a direction of movement of vehicles turning in specified directions so long as the operator does not endanger life or property;
(4) Pass or overtake, with due regard to the safety of persons and property, another vehicle at any intersection;
(5) Disregard speed limits, while having due regard for safety of persons and property;
(6) Pass or overtake with due regard to the safety of persons and property, while en route to an emergency, stopped or slow-moving vehicles, by going to the left of the stopped or slow-moving vehicle either in a no-passing zone or by crossing the highway centerline;
(7) Pass or overtake with due regard to the safety of persons and property, while en route to an emergency, stopped or slow-moving vehicles, by going off the paved or main traveled portion of the roadway on the right. Notwithstanding other provisions of this section, vehicles exempted in this instance will not be required to sound a siren or any device to give automatically intermittent signals.
(b) These exemptions granted to emergency vehicle shall apply only when the operator of such vehicle displays a flashing, blinking or alternating emergency light or lights and sounds a siren, exhaust whistle, or air horn designed to give automatically intermittent signals, as may be reasonably necessary, and, only when there is in force and effect for such vehicle either (i) standard motor vehicle liability insurance covering injury or death to any person in the sum of at least one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident and, subject to the limit for one person, to a limit of three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000.00) because of bodily injury to or death of two (2) or more persons in any one accident, and to a limit of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00) because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident or (ii) a certificate of self-insurance issued pursuant to section 46.2-368 of the Code of Virginia. Such exemptions shall not, however, protect the operator of any such vehicle from criminal prosecution for conduct constituting reckless disregard of the safety of persons and property. Nothing in this section shall release the operator of any such vehicle from civil liability for failure to use reasonable care in such operation.
(c) For the purposes of this section, the term "emergency vehicle" shall mean:
(1) Any law-enforcement vehicle operated by or under the direction of a federal, state, or local law-enforcement officer (i) in the chase or apprehension of violators of the law or persons charged with or suspected of any such violation or (ii) in response to an emergency call;
(2) Any regional detention center vehicle operated by or under the direction of a correctional officer responding to an emergency call or operating in an emergency situation;
(3) Any vehicle used to fight fire, including publicly owned state forest warden vehicles, when traveling in response to a fire alarm or emergency call;
(4) Any ambulance, rescue, or life-saving vehicle designed or used for the principal purpose of supplying resuscitation or emergency relief where human life is endangered;
(5) Any department of emergency management vehicle or office of emergency medical services vehicle, when responding to an emergency call or operating in an emergency situation; and
(6) Any department of corrections vehicle designated by the director of the department of corrections, when (i) responding to an emergency call at a correctional facility, (ii) participating in a drug-related investigation, (iii) pursuing escapees from a correctional facility, or (iv) responding to a request for assistance from a law-enforcement officer.
(d) Any law-enforcement vehicle operated by or under the direction of a federal, state, or local law-enforcement officer may disregard speed limits, while having due regard for safety of persons and property, (i) in testing the accuracy of speedometers of such vehicles or (ii) in testing the accuracy of speed measuring devices specified in section 46.2-882 of the Code of Virginia. (Code 1959, § 20-120; Ord. No. O-02-002, 1-15-02)
Last updated date: 10/23/2006 4:15:21 PM