Firefighters to be Legal to Drive Fire Trucks in Parades Again

Darrel J. Aubertine

May 29, 2009

Aubertine: Bill restores longstanding CDL waiver, lets firefighters drive trucks home, in parades

ALBANY (May 20, 2009)—The New York State Senate today passed a bill co-sponsored by state Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine that will clear the way for firefighters to legally drive fire trucks home from the scene of a fire, as well as in this year’s Memorial Day parades.

“An unintended consequence from several years back put our professional and volunteer firefighters in a bind,” Sen. Aubertine said. “Quite frankly, it didn’t make sense that we would allow firefighters to race to the scene of an emergency, but prohibit them from operating the fire truck in less extreme situations, be it the return trip, a parade, or even training. By passing this bill today, we have acted to correct the law and the intent is to have it on the governor’s desk in time for Memorial Day to let our firefighters proudly display their department’s fire trucks in this summer’s parades.”

The bill sponsored by Sen. Aubertine reinstated the long held waiver given to career and volunteer firefighters in New York State. It was strongly pushed by the 12,000-member New York State Association of Fire Chiefs. The Transportation Bond Act of 2005 included a number of changes to state law which resulted in federal highway funding coming to New York. However, restoring the waiver will not affect this funding or any other federal highway funding. The bill had passed the Assembly on Tuesday.

“Firefighters must be very well trained to operate their equipment, drive their vehicles and protect our lives and property,” Sen. Aubertine said. “Surely, if they had the training to drive quickly through our streets to protect us, that training should apply to driving back or rolling down the street to pass out candy.”

The timely passage of this bill (S.1624-C) – which has also passed in the Assembly (A.6051-A) and was signed by the Governor on Friday – ensures that New York’s summer parades will feature the beautiful fire trucks that have become a staple of these parades.