Paramedics and Lawmakers Want Drivers Out of Way

1 decade 3 years 1 month ago Tuesday, January 31 2006 Jan 31, 2006 Tuesday, January 31, 2006 6:15:50 PM CST January 31, 2006 in News

When ambulance sirens are blaring and lights flashing, most drivers know they have to pull over and stop. But for those who don't, it can be a matter of life and death.

A Senate bill would increase the penalty from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor, which could mean at least another five months in jail.

Steve Holtmeier comes from a family of first responders and takes pride in saving lives.

But, he said drivers who don't yield to his ambulance won't let him do his job.

"It's a very, very considerable problem," he added. "I mean, I would say it happens every shift we work."

Capital Region paramedic Aaron Steenbergen agrees.

"People need to remember that it could very well be their family member, their mother, their grandmother, that we're going to help," said Steenbergen. "It could be a small child, maybe with a choking problem going on, that could potentially, very easily, be remedied if we could get there faster. In a situation like that, if we're slow to respond, vehicles not yielding could make a difference."

Capital Region has the only ambulance service in Cole County. Last year, the service answered almost 10,000 calls, and more than half were life-threatening.

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