BEND, OR -- Local first responders have noticed a disturbing trend; a growing number of drivers failing to move to the right when they see overhead lights flashing. Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe says emergency vehicles are subject to the same driving rules as everyone else. But, when their lights flash, other drivers are required by law to give them the right of way. "We basically just ask people to pay attention, be heads up for any kind of emergency vehicle. You never know, our call volume is going up about 5% per year, and so we're at almost 11,000 calls per year, so that's a lot of fire engines and a lot of ambulances going through town."
He believes the majority of Central Oregon Drivers remember to pull over when they see lights flashing in their rearview mirror. However, he asks that everyone keep in mind a driver's main job: "To get that vehicle to where you're going without hurting yourself, or anybody else. And anything that takes away from that job, whether it's eating a burrito, or changing channels, or texting your friend, takes away from that one job." Howe tells KBND News, "Along with that one job means not getting in the way of emergency vehicles. The main thing is to pay attention to what's going on. Don't be distracted by anything else in the car, keep your eyes on the road, keep your eyes on the mirrors, keep your eyes on the job."