TEMPLE, TX — As Texans begin to experience some of the first hot weeks this year, fire responders and emergency vehicle drivers are reminding drivers to be aware when driving on roadways.
One of those first responders is Temple Fire Chief Mitch Randles, who risks his life to help others every day single the moment he signed up for the job.
“We're out there on [the roads] every single day,” he explained. “We're just one moment away from that catastrophic event.”
Him and his team respond to calls every day, each ring he knows could be his last.
“It's definitely something that is in the back of everybody's mind when we're working,” he admitted. “You know, on a scene or responding to a scene.”
There are laws that protect first responders from those who aren’t as attentive or aware.
The move over, slow down law was passed in 2003, which states all Texas drivers must switch lanes to avoid a roadside or slow down to 20 miles under the posted speed limit in an effort to keep those responding to emergency scenes safe.
However, it’s a law that millions either forget or don’t abide by when behind the wheel.
“There's been a lot of close calls, more than I could ever count,” Chief Randles recalled. “It's just one of those things that would be really great for first responders not to have to worry about while they're on scene, if everybody would scoot over.”
He explained that fire responders are usually juggling multiple tasks, that worrying about traffic not as much as they do could make a huge impact.
“It's just the speed and then the inattentiveness of most drivers,” he went on to say. “It's a very scary prospect for them to be out there working on the highway.”
When asked about on-scene accidents, Chief Randles said that Temple Fire and Rescue have had emergency vehicles hit, responders nearly swiped by car mirrors, but luckily no deaths.
Not abiding by this law could result in a fine of up to $500, depending on damages.
This reminder is just in time for what Triple A calls the 100 deadliest days of summer for teenage drivers.
The 100 days between Memorial and Labor Day are when Triple A explained most crashes that involve teens.
Distractions they fault for most of the crashes are distractions, like cell phones or other passengers and speeding.
Triple A also explained that most fatality crashes involving teens were because the driver was not wearing their seatbelt.