Can I Break Traffic Laws in an Emergency?

We’ve all seen this scenario play out somewhere in a movie or on television: Someone is in intense labor, bleeding from a wound, or suffering from some other type of medical emergency.

Our hero has to get them to the hospital right now – it’s a matter of life and death! Our hero flies across town, disregarding the speed limit, stop signs, red lights, and seemingly every rule of the road there is.

The scene typically cuts around this point, and it seems like our hero doesn’t have to face any consequences for their flagrant disregard for the law. The ends justify the means, after all – don’t they?

Well, not in reality.

Traffic Laws Always Apply – Even in Emergencies

Even in an emergency, it’s illegal to violate traffic laws. This is because these laws are in place to safely control the flow of traffic. Drivers who disregard the rules of the road under any circumstance put themselves, their occupants, and others at risk of serious injury or death in a collision.

If our hero were to make even the slightest error in judgment, everyone might end up needing to go to the hospital – or the morgue. But because our hero is the hero, these very real consequences that apply to the rest of us don’t apply to them.

Breaking the Law Will Probably Get You a Ticket

If you speed or run a red light trying to get to the hospital, don’t be surprised if you see red and blue lights in your rear-view mirror. You also shouldn’t be surprised if the police officer seems skeptical or dismissive of your explanation. That said, the officer might eventually agree to escort you to the hospital so that whoever needs medical treatment can get it – and then you’ll get your ticket.

Can I Defend a Traffic Ticket Because I Was in an Emergency?

It’s possible, but it can be very difficult to defend a traffic ticket incurred because someone broke traffic laws in an emergency. The assumption is that if an emergency was so dire that it required such extreme measures to address, an ambulance should have been called instead.

Yet, probably all of us can think of a few reasons why we would want to transport someone to the hospital ourselves versus an ambulance – time and money being two of the most important factors.

Still, though, it’s true that getting someone to the hospital in an ambulance is much safer to do than breaking traffic laws in a commuter vehicle. The risks to life and limb aside, any time spent getting pulled over and dealing with the police is time against a ticking clock.

Did You Get a Ticket in an Emergency? We Can Help.

Although it can be difficult to defend against a traffic ticket under these circumstances, it’s not impossible. The fact that your driving behavior was affected by the emergency you were trying to deal with counts for something, and there may be other mitigating factors that can help your case.

If you need to fight a traffic ticket you got in an emergency, reach out to Stites Law today to learn more about how we can help.

Contact us online or call (212) 729-0472">(212) 729-0472 now to claim a free case evaluation with our attorney.