Updated: 02/23/2009 07:10 PM
By: Brian Dwyer
Accidental or not, it's happened. While making amendments on federal highway standards back in 2005, to ensure funding, New York State eliminated an exemption that allowed firefighters to drive their fire trucks in a non-emergency capacity. Without the exemption, a commercial driver's license is needed to do so. Anyone is still allowed to drive to an emergency, but driving back, getting gas, or taking part in a parade is actually illegal without the CDL. It's estimated thousands of firefighters do not have one and have been technically breaking the law. Local departments say they're just learning about the law, but do have a big problem with it.
Senator Aubertine said of the law:
If we allow our firefighters to drive these trucks in the most extreme and stressful of situations, they ought to be able to drive the fire truck back from the scene, in a parade or when training. This is an example of unintended consequences in a comprehensive bill which we certainly need to revisit,"