CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee - Local EMS crews say motorist who don't yield the right-of-way to an ambulance with flashing lights and a loud siren are creating dangerous situations on the road.
Paramedic Shawn Ellis said he and his fellow co-workers are seeing a growing trend of non-yielding motorist.
"A lot of times people don't realize or don't check their mirrors enough and they don't realize we're there until we're all the way on top of them," Ellis said.
Ellis said an ambulance responding to an emergency scene or transporting a critical patient will often travel at higher rates of speed. If a paramedic is working on a critical patient, he or she is often standing in a fast moving vehicle which makes it even more dangerous if a motorist doesn't yield the right-of-way.
"If the driver has to make a sudden movement it can endanger us in the back and it can endanger the patient also if we we fall on top of him or anything else," Ellis said.
Prior to July 1, 2011, Tennessee motorist were encouraged to yield when an EMS vehicle with flashing lights approached. Now motorist are required to yield and may not realize they are breaking the law.
"We're responding to someone that's having the worst day of their life at that point. They're having the true emergency so when people don't move out of the way, it's very frustrating," Ellis said.