Evansville to be first in Indiana for Emergency Vehicle Alert System

The E-Light System mounts an extra light next a traffic light. When an emergency vehicle is driving towards the intersection the extra light flashes. The intent is to give drivers more of a warning when emergency vehicles are nearby.
Drivers can be oblivious and that could stand in the way of someone getting saved. "Today with vehicles the way they're made they're pretty much sound proof. A lot of people play music really loud. They don't even hear an emergency vehicle approaching until they're right on them," said E-Light LLC. Representative Bill Finch.

So if they don't hear it a new emergency vehicle alert system could give drivers a heads up about what's coming. The Evansville Fire Department is testing the E-Light System. Other agencies could eventually too.

It's a light attached to traffic signals that features a fire truck. When an emergency vehicle is within a certain range the light starts flashing. "Giving the drivers an early warning should help us significantly reduce the amount of accidents and get the people out of the way in time," said Evansville Assistant Fire Chief Paul Anslinger.

First there will be a trial system in place at Fulton and Columbia. The assistant fire chief hopes the system will expand to other lights around Evansville and ideally at no cost to the city. "With any luck we will be able to apply for a grant, be awarded the grant, and put quite a few of these items throughout the city," said Assistant Chief Anslinger.

The E-Light System started in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. According to E-Light's study before the light was mounted 77% of drivers yielded to emergency vehicles. After the light was mounted 97% allowed emergency vehicles to pass through freely.

Owensboro has a similar system where the light turns green to give an emergency vehicle the right of way. I'm told that is being looked at as an option down the road in Evansville, but not in the immediate future.

The E-Light System will be discussed at the mayor's traveling city hall meeting tomorrow at Saint Teresa school at 5:30 p.m.

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