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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 13, 2015 09:47 AM
From: Representative Rosemary M. Brown
To: All House members
Subject: Amending the Definition of an Emergency Vehicle
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation amending Section 102 of Title 75 (Vehicles), by amending the definition of “emergency vehicle.”

Under current law, a volunteer rescue vehicle is not recognized as an emergency vehicle. A fire company vehicle and emergency medical services vehicle are recognized.

Specifically, my proposal will insert “rescue service vehicle” into the definition of “emergency vehicle” and defines “rescue service vehicle” in order to expand the types of emergency vehicles that need to have this critical designation. Several stand-alone volunteer rescue companies have and use rescue service vehicles, some of which may be known as quick response vehicles.

I am proposing this legislation on behalf of a constituent who is a rescue chief in my district and who is the chief for exactly the kind of volunteer river rescue company that my legislation will assist. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will not grant an emergency vehicle designation (tag) because Title 75 does not recognize these types of vehicles under the current language in law.

In addition, the PA State Police are authorized to grant such designation, as allowed for under the statute, usually for privately operated vehicles, as provided for under the current law. However, the definition of emergency vehicle does not include terms like “river rescue,” or “search and rescue,” and because of this technicality, the vehicle can’t be used as an emergency vehicle in a safe way to provide rescue services when needed.

This search and rescue unit has been around for many years and is one of the units listed on the call box for the county to contact when search and rescue services are needed in an emergency incident. Without having the proper designation as an emergency vehicle, the services provided are seriously hampered.

Please join me in sponsoring this much needed and timely legislation.

Introduced as HB1068