"I've Always Wanted To Drive One Of These…"
COLUMBUS, OHIO, IS ONE OF THOSE places that is installing GPS tracking devices in their emergency vehicles. Besides sending signals to dispatch that determing the nearest unit to a call, and other sundry "aids" for response, these gadgets also track your vehicle's every move including how fast you drove to get there and what route you took. This has enlightened the city officials to some practices that they have previously been unaware of.
The Columbus Dispatch is reporting today:
The city’s new GPS tracking system had flagged SUVs driven by firefighters serving in the role of battalion chief who drove between 101 and 113 mph a total of 13 times in a two-month span, according to documents obtained by The Dispatch through a public-records request.
Battalion Chief Jack Reall, who also is the president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 67, was one of those whom investigators questioned after he was clocked driving his Ford Interceptor SUV at 108 mph in February.
The hand-wringers at City Hall are flummoxed because these practices don't violate any state laws (State law allows emergency vehicles to reach any speed necessary as long as there is "due regard for the safety of all persons and property upon the highway."), nor are there any definitive restrictions in the FD's rules. The FD's current policy allows firefighters to exceed the speed limit as long as road and weather conditions are favorable.
The Ford Interceptor SUVs the battalion chiefs drive have 304-horsepower, V-6 engines rated for speeds up to 131 mph. But the FD higher-ups and safety guys are now talking about putting a 90 mph limit on all responses. This will really only affect the officer's cars because, as this ad hoc committee explains, "most fire apparatus, such as engines and ladder trucks, can’t reach speeds of more than 90 mph anyway."
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