Blinkers aren’t a free pass to break local traffic laws

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Whether you have a woman in labor, a child with a broken arm or any other emergency, driving with your flashers on doesn’t mean you can break any laws.
Police say sometimes people think using their flashers gives them immunity on the roads, but that’s not the case. Tupelo Police Maj. Jackie Clayton said if you’re breaking the law, you will be pulled over – period.
“You have to obey the laws even if your lights are flashing and you have an emergency,” said Clayton. “You can’t use your hazard lights to disobey the law.
Now we understand if you are transporting someone to the hospital people will use their blinkers, but even then you don’t have the right to break the law. If we see you running stop signs, speeding or breaking any other traffic laws, we are going to pull you over.”
Clayton said seeing people with their blinkers on is common, and pulling them over is, too.
Mississippi Highway Patrol Sgt. H.L. Kitchens said he sees people riding with their blinkers on more than a city or county officer would, but said the rules of the road apply on highways as well.
“If you speed with your blinkers on you are going to be pulled over,” said Kitchens. “If you have an emergency, call 911 and let them get you the help you need because driving recklessly with your blinkers can cause a serious accident on the highway.”
Both Kitchens and Clayton said police no longer escort a driver during emergencies, which is why calling 911 is the best course of action.
“We may follow a person to the hospital, but we don’t give them escorts through the city anymore,” said Clayton. “So calling 911 will assure that you’ll get there safely.
“I once pulled a kid over who had his blinkers on and was speeding,” Kitchens said. “When I asked him what the emergency was, he told me that he was late for curfew and he was trying to avoid being grounded. He definitely got a ticket that night.”