Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell: Firefighters Will Not Need Commercial Driver Licenses to Carry Out Non-Emergency Duties under Our Legislation

May 20, 2009

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell (D-Theresa) announced the Assembly passed legislation (A.6051-A) she sponsored that will allow firefighters without CDLs to carry out non-emergency official duties involving fire vehicles. The legislation is designed to further rectify a controversial state law that forbade trained firefighters without CDLs from driving trucks in non-emergency situations.

In this year’s budget we corrected a technicality in the law that permitted firefighters with a valid class-D driver license to legally drive an emergency vehicle to the scene of an emergency but not back to the station. Under this legislation trained firefighters now have permission to drive vehicles in parades, training exercises, safety inspections or non-emergency situations without holding a CDL.

Assemblywoman Russell said, “The current situation hindered firefighters in their training and in carrying out non-emergency duties. There is much more to a firefighter’s job than just answering emergency calls. They are highly active, visible members of our communities and it is important they are able to operate the apparatus without fear of penalty.”

Addie further indicated, “I would like to see Governor Paterson sign this into law by Memorial Day so that fire departments can fully participate in honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation.”

Joe Plummer, the interim director of Jefferson County’s Office of Fire and Emergency Management said, “This is fantastic news for the fire services of Jefferson County and all of New York State. It allows firefighters to train legally and concentrate on the task at hand. It also allows fire services to better protect the citizens in their communities.”