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H.432

Introduced by   Representative Jewett of Ripton

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Motor vehicles; actions against emergency responders; negligent standard of care

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to overrule the Vermont Supreme Court’s decision in Rochon v. State of Vermont and require a plaintiff to satisfy a negligent rather than a reckless standard of care in an action arising out of an accident with an emergency responder.

AN ACT RELATING TO A NEGLIGENT STANDARD OF CARE IN ACTIONS AGAINST EMERGENCY RESPONDERS

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  23 V.S.A. § 1015 is amended to read:

§ 1015.  AUTHORIZED EMERGENCY VEHICLES

(a)  The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle, when responding to an emergency call or when responding to, but not returning from, a fire alarm and a law enforcement officer operating an authorized emergency vehicle in fresh pursuit of a suspected violator of the law:

(1)  may park or stand contrary to the provisions of this chapter;

(2)  may proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation;

(3)  shall come to a full stop when approaching a school bus which is flashing red lights and may proceed only when the flashing red lights are extinguished;

(4)  may exceed the maximum speed limits;

(5)  may disregard regulations governing direction of movement or turning in specified directions.

(b)  The exemptions granted to an authorized emergency vehicle apply only when the vehicle is making use of audible or visual signals meeting the requirements of this title.

(c)  The foregoing provisions shall not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons, nor shall such provisions protect the driver from the consequences of his reckless disregard or her negligent failure to exercise due care for the safety of others.

(d)  The operator of a school bus, upon the approach of an authorized emergency vehicle as described in subsection (a) of this section, shall take action immediately to get school children schoolchildren out of the public highway and to a safe place and shall thereafter extinguish the flashing red lights.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us