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Mail Truck Has Right of Way Over OTHER Emergency Vehicles?

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Hey, all my life I thought that was the case. Although in practice, I've never been in a situation to test this (and get pulled over for it) but blow me down... I was wrong!

  2. SixofNine

    SixofNine Jedi Sage Staff Member

    I never considered a mail truck to be an emergency vehicle.
  3. tke711

    tke711 Oink Oink Staff Member

    Me either. No one will die if they get 5 pounds of junk mail a couple of minutes late. :)
  4. Allene

    Allene Registered User

    :rofl: So true!

    Here in Idaho farm animals have the right of way in open range country, which is just about everywhere outside a town or city. If I hit a cow, I pay for the cow and damage to my vehicle. I don't know how common this rule is across the country. The first time I ever noticed it was when I applied for an Idaho driver's license five years ago.
  5. tke711

    tke711 Oink Oink Staff Member

    Wow...that's messed up.
  6. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    What annoys me is the way postal vehicles park without regard to the parking laws. I'll be driving down some main boulevard posted no parking during commute hours, and we have a special more severe category IIRC "anti-gridlock" that is grounds for immediate towing and increased fine, due to the huge traffic load during commute hours and how much one parked car can disrupt traffic and even cause accidents. And there's a letter carrier parked in the red, unloading a mail box. Also, postal vehicles often park in the red no parking area in front of my house when there's plenty of open space within 20-30 feet where he could park if he weren't so lazy. It's like, "Hey, what are you going to do, ticket a US federal government vehicle?"

    Now perhaps there's good reason for the parking in "anti-gridlock" to unload a mail box since some times there is NO parking nearby, but there's no reason at all why the local letter carrier could park some place other than a red curb. At least I believe so.

    My mom and dad hit a cow on US 395 about 20 years ago. Their insurance fixed their car other than the deductable, and IIRC also paid for the cow. In California motorists are liable for damages to livestock on the open range. Be glad you don't get a ticket.
  7. Frodo Lives

    Frodo Lives Luke, I am NOT your father!

    Mail trucks do have the right of way over regular traffic in some instances. Case in point: Right out of High School, the first real job I had was doing traffic control. During training we learned that some vehicles have the right of way and can not be stopped, such as Fire Trucks, L.E. cars, ambulances. But, we they also told us we could not stop Bank Trucks and Mail Trucks. I could understand the Bank Trucks, but why Mail Trucks? The answer given was because often times they are carrying money in one form or another (checks, money orders, etc. plus legal documents, etc) and stopping them increases the risk of them being robbed.

    I have never heard about the intersection thing before. Strange.
  8. Allene

    Allene Registered User

    I guess this cow thing is prevalent throughout the West.
  9. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    I think drivers being liable for damage to livestock on an open range is probably the law in most or maybe all of the US. It's a pretty simple principle. If livestock can be legally allowed to roam the range, then autos are responsible to see and avoid them. I'm fairly sure this applies to any open range. Note that some states may have little or no open range so it wouldn't apply there.

    I have no idea about fenced pastures. Dewitt can answer those questions.
  10. Violet1966

    Violet1966 Stand and Deliver Staff Member

    That's a strange one. Don't know what would lead anyone to believe the mail truck is an emergency vehicle?
  11. Piobaireachd

    Piobaireachd Full Member

    I do when it is carrying my latest purchase from Newegg. :)
  12. Violet1966

    Violet1966 Stand and Deliver Staff Member

    :rofl: True!
  13. SixofNine

    SixofNine Jedi Sage Staff Member

    The only given in the hypothetical question discussed in the Snopes article is that the mail truck is the only vehicle of the four that has to pull over. "The mail truck is not even in the running, unless the guy ia a complete idiot," says a spokesman for the California DMV (yes, traffic laws vary by state, but what a shocker if there's an exception in this scenario).

    I agree with Snopes that the really interesting question is who has the right of way, or at least who should go first, of the remaining vehicles?
  14. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    I would say that if it's police vs. fire, that police should go first because the criminal activity might jeopardize the firefighter's lives. It's not unusual to see news coverage like a recent one in L.A. where the police were chasing a a failure to yield and the perp had an accident and rolled his car. The car caught fire but the runner refused to show himself, refused to hold his hands out of the car, so the police prevented the firefighters from trying to rescue the runner.

    I think both police and fire outrank ambulance for the same reason. Police because they need to protect firefighters and ambulance crew from possible danger, fire before ambulance because it's often the situation that firefighters have to rescue victims before there are victims for the ambulance to treat and medevac.

    Postal trucks? LOL! They aren't emergency vehicles at all. If they were they'd have sirens.

    Priority highest to lowest:

    1. law enforcement
    2. fire fighters
    3. ambulances
    4. I'm tempted to put news gathering here because they are often admitted to dangerous areas.
    5. Postal trucks, gawking people, bicycles, kids on skate boards and people walking dogs.
    6. O.J. Simpson no matter what he's driving. You can't trust that sumbitch!

    Gawd, this has me laughing! Postal emergency vehicles? That's like two planes have a mid-air crash over a border, which side do you bury the survivors on? Only an idiot or a moron would believe even for a minute that a postal vehicle could be an emergency vehicle.
  15. Violet1966

    Violet1966 Stand and Deliver Staff Member

    Whomever is to the right of the mail truck, or arrived at the corner right after, would have the right of way.

    This 4 corners stop always makes me laugh since I've moved up here. In NJ/NY, you could have a traffic jam at such a thing, with some people never let out through courtesy. Up here, we have common courtesy and practice both common sense, and fairness. We have 4 way stops all over, and there's never a problem. The person who arrives at one, stop to yield to whomever was there first. If two people arrive at the same time to the same point, one will signal to go. It's just automatic and this is consistent up here. I'd like to think the same would happen with the er vehicles too.

    If there's a response channel used when in response, then I'd guess it could be spoken out if they're all on the same band when in response mode? If there's gps on the vehicles now, then dispatch could watch it possibly.

    Maybe our own er people could give us some insight on what is commonly practiced?

    In response to LH, police vehicles in persuit don't yeild to anyone really. They just try to not hit anyone in an intersection. If they yield too long, the criminal could get away. Makes me think no matter what, that the police would be first. Then again, the weight of a firetruck is pretty hard to stop, so logic tells me the firetruck should have the right of way.
  16. MNeedham73

    MNeedham73 Well-Known Member

    An ambulance isn't exactly a lightweight vehicle either.

    One can only hope that if a police cruiser, a fire truck, and an ambulance all meet at an intersection, that they are all headed to the same place, just coming from different directions. Then it wouldn't really matter who goes first ;)
  17. Violet1966

    Violet1966 Stand and Deliver Staff Member

    Which is totally true. Ambulances have to weight quite a bit as well. Maybe close to a fire engine, as long as it wasn't a tanker firetruck with water loaded for places that don't have firehydrants! ;)

    Fire engines sometimes have people hanging off of them, which is something to consider as well.

    I wish some of our emergency response people would chime in. Would love to hear if there's some common practice in this case.
  18. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    Vehicles with sirens on have priority over all other vehicles. I'll be surprised if the various emergency agencies haven't worked out who goes first under every situation.

    If police, fire, ambulance and postal vehicles all arrive in the same intersection at the exact same instant, where do they bury the survivors? ;)
  19. cmhbob

    cmhbob Did...did I do that? Staff Member

    Keep in mind that most fire trucks carry 500 - 1000 gallons of water, at about 8 pounds per gallon. Add in the rest of the gear they carry, and the average apparatus is running upwards of 15,000 pounds. Tankers would be even heavier, as would be ladder/snorkel trucks.

    In a lot of jurisdictions, everyone is going to be aware of who's going where. The ambulance/medic is probably dispatched with the fire engine, even if they're coming from different stations, and they'll radio to each other who goes first. If the cop is chasing a bad guy, well, the fire/medic units probably just saw him go by, so they'll wait for the cruiser to go. If the cruiser is responding with the apparatus, they'll hang back for a couple of reasons. First, to watch for people not yielding. Secondly, and much more importantly, they don't want to get their cruiser blocked in by the big fire trucks!
  20. Andy


    "All 4 arrive at the intersection simultaneously.. who has right of way"

    The answer is obvious, the 86 year old woman in the crosswalk who's hair is on fire, needs medical treatment, that's on her way to get to the post office and collect her dead sister's social security check and cash it at the liquor store..

    /thread over.

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