Some union leaders question a new Austin city policy that says firetrucks responding to calls must drive the speed limit and fully stop at intersections.
Austin Fire Department Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr said the policy is meant to improve safety for firefighters and motorists.
But Steven Truesdell, president of the Austin Firefighters Association, told the Austin American-Statesman that firefighters’ discretion is being curtailed.
“We don’t understand if they have some impetus for making these changes,” Truesdell said. “They haven’t discussed it with us.”
Previously, Austin firefighters could drive up to 10 mph over the posted speed limit. Vehicles were not required to stop at intersections, but operators were told to make sure other drivers
knew the emergency vehicles needed to proceed.
Kerr said she does not believe that the policy, which took effect Aug. 11, will affect response times.
Note: In Houston our fire fighters responding to calls are also allowed to drive 10mph over the speed limit according to Executive Assistant Chief Rick Flanagan. Should our fire fighters also be required to drive the limit?