Home Table of Contents

AMI 913 Emergency Vehicles—Special Privileges

Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil

Ark. Model Jury Instr., Civil AMI 913
Arkansas Model Jury Instructions-Civil
November 2021 Update
Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil
Chapter 9. Rules of the Road
AMI 913 Emergency Vehicles—Special Privileges
(1) [The (ambulance)(fire truck)(police car) driven by was an authorized emergency vehicle at the time and place of the occurrence,]
* * *
(2) [One issue you must decide is whether the (ambulance)(fire truck)(police car) was an authorized emergency vehicle at the time and place of the occurrence. If you find that was (responding to an emergency call)(in the immediate pursuit of an actual or suspected law violator) and was operating the (siren)(bell)(whistle) and (red)(blue) rotating or flashing emergency lights on the (ambulance)(fire truck)(police car) which [he][she] was driving, then the (ambulance)(fire truck)(police car) was an authorized emergency vehicle,] and the driver was entitled to operate the vehicle in accordance with the following traffic law(s) applicable only to emergency vehicles:
(a) [The driver of an emergency vehicle is relieved of the obligation to obey a speed limit.]
(b) [The driver of an emergency vehicle is not required to stop at a stop (light)(sign) but must slow down as necessary for safety and may then proceed cautiously past the signal.]
(c) [The driver of an emergency vehicle is not required to stop at the type of railroad crossing involved in this case.]
(d) [An emergency vehicle has the right of way over other vehicles.]
The existence of [this][these] privilege(s) does not relieve the driver of an emergency vehicle of the duty to exercise ordinary care for the safety of others using the [street][highway].
NOTE ON USE
Use paragraph (1) only when there is no dispute as to emergency vehicle status. Appropriate revisions should be made in the instruction if there is a dispute about the existence or the sufficiency of the signal equipment as required by Ark. Code Ann. § 27-37-202 or § 27-49-219(d) and which may partially supersede § 27-37-202. Use the reference to red emergency lights when the status of an ambulance or fire truck is in dispute, and refer to blue emergency lights in the case of a police car. Ibid. Appropriate revisions should be made in the instruction if there is a question whether an ambulance meets the requirements of § 27-49-219(d), or an issue under the same act with regard to motor vehicles operated by volunteer firemen.
COMMENT
The court held that the standard of care set out in this instruction is a correct statement of law in City of Little Rock v. Weber, 298 Ark. 382, 767 S.W.2d 529 (1989), and quoted it with approval in City of Caddo Valley v. George, 340 Ark. 203, 9 S.W.3d 481 (2000).
Authorized emergency vehicles are defined in Ark. Code Ann. § 27-49-219(d) as including: fire department vehicles, police vehicles, vehicles owned and used by volunteer fire fighters while engaged in official duties, and ambulances and other emergency medical vehicles meeting statutory requirements.
An auxiliary police officer’s private vehicle, equipped with a flashing red light, is not an emergency vehicle, and it was proper for the trial court to refuse to give a modified version of this instruction. Jones v. Parrish, 330 Ark. 521, 954 S.W.2d 934 (1997).
It was reversible error to give the jury a modified version of this instruction to the effect that a police motorcycle that gave “an appropriate audible signal,” as opposed to the statutorily required siren, qualified as an authorized emergency vehicle. Whistle–Vess Bottling Co. v. Owens, 249 Ark. 424, 459 S.W.2d 562 (1970).
The various privileges for emergency vehicles are set forth in the following statutes:
  • Exemption from prima facie speed limitations, Ark. Code Ann. §§ 27-51-202(a) and 27-51-204(b)(1).
  • Privilege to proceed cautiously past stop lights and stop signs after slowing, Ark. Code Ann. § 27-49-109.
  • Privilege providing statutory right-of-way, Ark. Code Ann. §§ 27-37-202(e) and 27-51-901.
End of Document