Should Virginia (VA) Emergency Vehicle Law be Revised? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

When a cop causes a car accident with injury or death on a Virginia road, their insurer and employer can be sued by the victim for negligence or gross negligence in some circumstances. According to an article by Dena Potter from The Associated Press, a recent tragic accident has led to discussion of revising emergency vehicle law in Virginia. Ashley McIntosh, age 33, was killed in February of 2008 when a police officer sped through a red light striking McIntosh’s vehicle. Police officer, Amanda Perry had received a call regarding a shoplifter shortly before, and was responding to that call when she went through the intersection with her lights flashing, but her siren off. According to Virginia traffic regulations, police officers are not required to obey traffic laws concerning running red lights and speeding if they use their flashing lights and sirens “as may be reasonably necessary.” Due to the wording of this phrase, police officer Amanda Perry, was found not guilty of reckless driving. However, the Police Department investigated Amanda Perry’s involvement in the incident and recommended suspension and a transfer. Officer Amanda Perry ultimately decided to resign from the Police Department in March and is also facing a lawsuit from the victim’s family.


The mother of the deceased, Cindy Colasanto, approached the Virginia State Crime Commission asking the commission if they would support Senator Linda Puller’s new bill aimed at altering the law so that police officers and emergency vehicles would be required to use both flashing lights and sirens, unless there was a reason that would make it necessary that they should not. The Virginia State Crime Commission is scheduled to vote on whether or not to recommend revision of the law in December. The need for public safety of innocent bystanders must be given some weight in emergency police response practices.


About the Editors: Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, as well as the Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY, who handle car, truck, railroad, and medical negligence cases and more.