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YWN Coffee Room » Local & Neighborhood Issues

VAS License Plates on a Non-Emergency Vehicle

(218 posts)
  • Started 1 year ago by avhaben
  • Latest reply from This name is already taken

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  1. avhaben
    Joseph

    Why is their abuse of the VAS license plates in New York, where obviously non-emergency vehicles (including trucks, beat-up car only used by a child or wife, etc.) have VAS plates and are utilized to abuse parking and driving privileges?

    And what can be done to stop the abuse and rein in the violators?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. Health
    Member

    Avhaben -Speak to your elected officials.
    There was a time that gov. officials in NYC were abusing their NYPD Placards. Enough people complained until the gov. cracked down on them.
    The same can be done with people who abuse VAS plates and/or lights and sirens. Unfortunately there are always some bad apples who will abuse a privledge given to them.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. 2scents
    Mint and Raspberry

    What's the issue?

    These plates give the driver no privileges.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. 2scents
    Mint and Raspberry

    Placards are different then vas or emt plates.

    Placards usually mean that your on official business.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. popa_bar_abba
    Incorrigible; eccentric; somewhere between mean and average; sometimes only a bit over the top; arbitrarily engaged in cynicism.

    2cents is correct. The VAS plates don't give you any special parking privileges. You need the DOT parking permit to get the privileges.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. 2scents
    Mint and Raspberry

    Do you want the wife of a volunteer to remove the plates each time she uses the car?!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. avhaben
    Joseph

    They officially don't give any privileges. But as a practical matter meter maids and police officer will rarely if ever ticket a VAS vehicle. And this is abused at times.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. 2scents
    Mint and Raspberry

    this is up to the cops own discretion,the fact that police might look the other way if someone is one way or the other affiliated with an ambulance service, or if that person is a Lic EMT they have the right to have custom plates.

    There is no abuse here.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. avhaben
    Joseph

    The abuse is that they get a second VAS plate for their wifes car that isn't used for emergency responses or someone who isn't (or is no longer) responding to calls uses a VAS plate or a friend of a member gets a VAS plate.

    Another type of abuse is when a legit VAS plate holder -- when NOT responding to calls -- abuses his parking and/or driving priviliges that is (unofficially) extended to him.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. 2scents
    Mint and Raspberry

    ahaben,

    You made two points. There is no abuse, since this does not mean that they are on official business, in fact service units which are not emergency vehicles also have VAS plates, all it means is that they are a volunteer, if someones has more than one car, he or she can put it on all the cars, this is a regular custom plate you can get one by taking an EMT course and placing it on ALL of your cars.

    as I pointed out, VAS plates does not meant that the driver is on official business, so he can use it even when not on call, the fact that he will not get a ticket, does not make this an abuse.
    It is his choice if he would like to take the risk and park illegally or not. the plates will not get a ticket dismissed.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. Ðash®
    Ъ$h@¢®•©Ôm

    The abuse is that they get a second VAS plate for their wifes car that isn't used for emergency responses ...

    Here is a snippet from the application form.

    NOTE: To obtain custom plates in the two series listed below, the current registration must be in the name of the emergency services member OR his/her spouse.

    Volunteer Ambulance Service (PROOF: Letter from ambulance company certifying eligibility. Must be on ambulance company letterhead.
    FEE: $43.75)

    © Ю

    Posted 1 year ago #
  12. I see VAS cars parking at fire hydrants or blocking intersections while they go daven in shul or visit someone.

    Also have seen the cars zipping through red lights they just missed, or driving on the shoulder of the road, all while not responding to a call. (They sometimes turn on their lights or siren while they illegally zip through traffic and then shut it off as soon as they passed whatever they were trying to get through.)

    Posted 1 year ago #
  13. avhaben
    Joseph

    My point isn't the abuse is technically done with VAS plate. Almost every car with a VAS plate also has a placard in the windshield window from the ambulance company stating it has special priviliges. And this is what is abused: the priviliges granted with the placard.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  14. cb1
    Music Producer

    Also have seen the cars zipping through red lights they just missed, or driving on the shoulder of the road, all while not responding to a call. (They sometimes turn on their lights or siren while they illegally zip through traffic and then shut it off as soon as they passed whatever they were trying to get through.)

    Not every emergency is authorized for lights & sirens. there are many times that i am on a emergency call where i will only turn on my lights & sirens when going through heavy traffic and immediately turn it off after i get through even though i am on a call.

    People, how about a little Dan L'kaf Zchus here!! Most Hatzolah members do NOT abuse their privileges!!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. Not every emergency is authorized for lights & sirens. there are many times that i am on a emergency call where i will only turn on my lights & sirens when going through heavy traffic and immediately turn it off after i get through even though i am on a call.

    If is not authorized for lights & sirens, how are you using lights & sirens for the time you are going through heavy traffic (even if you immediately turn it off after)? You are admitting to using lights & sirens against the law.

    Anyways, I wasn't talking about that scenario. I am talking about where the driver has no emergency. He simply just missed the green light and wants to chap going through the intersection, so he quickly flashes his l & s for a few seconds to get through the intersection. Or there is heavy traffic on the 17 on the way to the country, so he drives on the shoulder of the road for a few minutes to beat the traffic.

    And not to repeat the parking abuse when not responding to calls.

    P.S. Absolutely most members don't abuse it. But the ones that do give everyone a black eye.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. Dash,

    Thank you for posting the information. I was wondering if you could answer a few questions:

    1. What is the difference between VAS and EMT (or EMT-P) plates?

    2. Is it true that some people who have VAS plates are not EMTs? If so, what are the qualifications to get VAS plates? (I know you said that a sponsorship letter is required so I am basically asking what you have to do to get the letter.)

    No harm is intended by these questions; I am just curious.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  17. DaasYochid
    a singular mind

    If is not authorized for lights & sirens, how are you using lights & sirens for the time you are going through heavy traffic (even if you immediately turn it off after)? You are admitting to using lights & sirens against the law.

    Do you consider a legal technicality more important than someone's life?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  18. yitzchokm
    Member

    Borough Park Mensch,
    If we tell you, we'll have to kill you. Even if you mean no harm.
    Are you sure you want to know?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  19. Ðash®
    Ъ$h@¢®•©Ôm

    1. What is the difference between VAS and EMT (or EMT-P) plates?

    2. Is it true that some people who have VAS plates are not EMTs? If so, what are the qualifications to get VAS plates? (I know you said that a sponsorship letter is required so I am basically asking what you have to do to get the letter.)

    EMT and EMT-P plates are for EMTs or Paramedics regardless of their participation in an ambulance service.

    VAS plates are for members of volenteer ambulance services or their spouces regardless of their medical capabilities.

    © Ю

    Posted 1 year ago #
  20. Health
    Member

    avhaben -"My point isn't the abuse is technically done with VAS plate. Almost every car with a VAS plate also has a placard in the windshield window from the ambulance company stating it has special priviliges. And this is what is abused: the priviliges granted with the placard."

    I agree with you that some abuse their priviliges. But if you want change -complain to your elected officials. Coming here only helps you let off steam, but nothing will change.
    All you get is response from some Hatzolah members that e/o who is a member is a perfect little angel.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  21. Do you consider a legal technicality more important than someone's life?

    The law always allows lights & sirens when there is even a possibility someone's life is at stake. That the law prohibits lights & sirens is because it is a non-life threatening/minor incident.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  22. Can we set one thing straight please? You can only get one set of VAS plates. The DMV will not issue more than 1 set per customer. You can verify this on the mv411 form.

    Secondly, how does it constitute abuse when the plates merely indicate that one is a member of a volunteer ambulance company. It does not mean that the vehicle is a EASV (emergency vehicle). In effect it is no different than a MD or DDS plate for that matter.
    The ID placard designates a vehicle as an EASV but that too only states that the vehicle is allowed to use lights and sirens.
    If your perception is that people driving these vehicles park them illegally more often than others (which may be true, but unlikely given the proportion of civilian vehicles vs VAS vehicles) then that is not abuse. If the NYPD accord these people a professional courtesy and don't issue them citations as often, that is the prerogative of the officer. If they wouldn't cite expensive cars, that is their choice too. That doesn't make illegally parking your Lexus an abuse of privilege.

    Driving down the shoulder when not responding to an emergency is similarly not an abuse of privilege. VAS plate drivers do not have a privilege of driving on the shoulder. If a civilian would drive down the shoulder how is he any different? They are both abusing their driving privileges, to be frank.

    PS Can we please stop beating up the Hatzoloh members?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  23. Naysberg
    Joseph

    Why do cops generally not pull over a hatzala car with vas plates when they are speeding or go through lights? Obviously once they see vas they don't bother. (Same with parking.) So the vas plates itself carry priviliges.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  24. 2scents
    Mint and Raspberry

    First, Cops DO pull over cars even if they have EMT or VAS plates.

    Regarding lights and sirens, I do not believe that Hatzoloh members abuse them, the consequences are to big to use them when not on an emergency.

    You might see someone turn on the lights and sirens only to shut them a few seconds later, this happens all the time, either the patient stopped choking or the first member on scene radioed the units to slow it down.

    This happens almost each day. There are those people who are out to correct the world and make sure to call the dispatcher on the hotline that unit so and so used lights and sirens to go through a red light.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  25. First, Cops DO pull over cars even if they have EMT or VAS plates.

    So how do members respond to calls (with l & s) without having to worry about a cop pulling him over while he is on the way to respond to an emergency?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  26. yitzchokm
    Member

    The Litvishe Kiryas Yoelite-
    What's your issue? Do you work for the fdny? is Hatzoloh taking away business?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  27. 2scents
    Mint and Raspberry

    TLKY, I do not understand your questions, there are two separate issues being discussed here, Custom plates and Lights/Sirens.

    I was referring to the custom plates which are nothing more than a nice license plate. Police do not hesitate to pull over a car that has custom plates.

    Lights and Sirens are a different issue, they are only to be used in an emergency. People that abuse the L&S are usually not members of Hatzoloh, using L&S in an unauthorized manner is illegal and dangerous, the consequences are big.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  28. Naysberg
    Joseph

    A few years ago I saw a small old red car (looked non-Jewish) with VAS plate number "1" in the parking lot of Home Depot (Hamilton Ave.)

    Posted 1 year ago #
  29. Health
    Member

    2scents -"First, Cops DO pull over cars even if they have EMT or VAS plates."

    What it boils down to is the cop's perception. I've been pulled over many times by cops during a response. Of course since I was legit - I didn't get a ticket. In parts of NJ where they aren't used to having people respond in personal vehicles, I've gotten pulled over. This was probably true once upon a time in NY. Nowadays with almost every cop in NY and other areas where Hatzolah responds, you'd be hardpressed to find a cop who's ignorant about personal response. So they don't pull over cars with Cherrys anymore. This is how people who aren't even a member of any emerg. org. get away with using lights and sirens -they don't check up anymore. So if a cop sees a Frum man using lights and sirens, he just assumes they are Hatzolah and ignores them.

    "Regarding lights and sirens, I do not believe that Hatzoloh members abuse them, the consequences are to big to use them when not on an emergency."

    Either you're very ignorant or you have an agenda.
    I've have friends admit to me that they have abused their lights and sirens. And these are guys who are very on the up & up, but anybody can fall prey to the Yetzer Hora. So what do you think about the guy on Hatzolah who isn't there for the right reasons?
    Do you think he never abuses his priviliges?

    "You might see someone turn on the lights and sirens only to shut them a few seconds later, this happens all the time, either the patient stopped choking or the first member on scene radioed the units to slow it down."

    Or the guy got through the red light and didn't need the lights & siren anymore. (Whether on a call or not.) Your scenarios are possible but it's easy to tell if this is indeed the case. A guy with a scanner can easily tell by listening if there are any calls in the neighborhod. Even during a call it's easy to tell, if let's say two units who were dispatched report on the scene and with the ambulance already responding. So there would be no units with lights and sirens enroute. You have to be dispatched to the call -you just can't go.

    These abuses are real, despite any denial from some posters here.
    But like I said before, if you want change, the only ones that can make change are the elected/gov. officials. Coming here does nothing besides making you feel good.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  30. VAS plates are for members of volenteer ambulance services or their spouces regardless of their medical capabilities.

    Dash,

    Thank you for your reply. First, let me say this is not about Hatzoloh. There are plenty of other volunteer ambulance services in the state almost all of which are not Jewish.

    Since you said that a member or spouse can get VAS plates even if they don't do first aid then is it at least possible that some unethical volunteer groups give out letters to big donors or volunteers who do things like clerical work?

    Again, this is not about Hatzoloh.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  31. uneeq
    Ironically, redundant subtitles can be redundantly ironic.

    I think people shouldn't focus on Hatzolah members as being the ones abusing the privileges of having VAS plates. I personally know a bunch of people that aren't EMT's that have these license plates. The ones I know don't speed through red lights and such, and don't believe that it gives them more rights when it comes to parking. Though they are happy to have a little leeway when it comes to the insane ticketing standards of NY traffic police.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  32. uneeq: How did these non-members get VAS plates?

    What other volunteer ambulance services exist in New York, other than Hatzalah?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  33. 2scents
    Mint and Raspberry

    Health,

    Correct me if I am wrong, in NJ EMTs are not allowed to have red lights or pass through red lights, they have to follow the regular traffic rules.

    That is why cops would pull over EMTs that respond in their personal cars.

    In NY, the law permits EMTs to have lights and sirens and go through red lights.

    I did not understand what you wrote regarding two units responding with the ambulance en route, all units respond on a code 1 unless advised otherwise, even if the ambulance is already on the way, the ambulance without EMTs is not worth much.

    I will not deny that abuse does not exist, however it is not wide spread, at least not in the area I am. the member runs the risk of being caught either by PD (they can follow you to the scene), or by a coordinator. Most people that call in to complain are referring to a call that has been canceled or downgraded.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  34. Ctrl Alt Del
    Wishes he could Ctrl Alt or Del some posts

    Bensonhurst Vol Amb
    Park Slope Vol Amb
    BRAVO
    East Midwood Vol Amb
    NY Community Vol Amb
    Shorefront Vol Amb
    Tri-Community Vol Amb
    Gerritson Beach Vol Amb
    Flatland Vol Amb
    Bed-Stuy Vol Amb

    Those are just the ones in Brooklyn (that I can remember)and almost those volunteers are eligible for VAS plates.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  35. Ctrl Alt Del
    Wishes he could Ctrl Alt or Del some posts

    Hmmm, Gerritsen Beach may be part of Queens. I don't remember exactly.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  36. Health
    Member

    2scents -"Correct me if I am wrong, in NJ EMTs are not allowed to have red lights or pass through red lights, they have to follow the regular traffic rules. That is why cops would pull over EMTs that respond in their personal cars."

    Wrong. First of all, I didn't go through any red lights and was pulled over, nor did I use L & S. Technically they have to have blue lights on their vehicles, not L & S. It's only allowed (L & S) for the Chief or Captain of the service. (Only one person per squad.) Already many moons ago, many Hatzolah members in NJ in the areas that they respond have L & S. They use these with impunity and disobey all traffic laws like they are emergency vehicles. I personally don't care - I'm not from the complainers, but I'm not going to sweep the truth under the carpet either.

    "I did not understand what you wrote regarding two units responding with the ambulance en route, all units respond on a code 1 unless advised otherwise, even if the ambulance is already on the way, the ambulance without EMTs is not worth much."

    I'm not going to explain it, if you didn't understand it. Perhaps reread it. The gist of my point was that anybody with a scanner and a little knowledge of how Hatzolah works can easily tell if a Hatzolah guy using L & S is legit. I personally don't care what abuse is going on -it's not my business. It's the responsibility of the Vol. squad and the Gov. But if the OP and others are so bothered by this, they can easily find those who abuse their priviliges and then they can document it. And then they can report it to the proper authorities.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  37. Ðash®
    Ъ$h@¢®•©Ôm

    In NY, the law permits EMTs to have lights and sirens and go through red lights.

    No, only an EASV (Emergency Ambulance Service Vehicles) is allowed to have lights and sirens. Hatzalah's dispatch model uses the members POV (Privately Owned Vehicles) as RRVs (Rapid Responce Vehicles) so they can qualify as EASVs.

    New Jersey does not allow POVs to be EASVs.

    Since you said that a member or spouse can get VAS plates even if they don't do first aid then is it at least possible that some unethical volunteer groups give out letters to big donors or volunteers who do things like clerical work?

    Based on my understanding, a member whose sole function is clerical would be eligible for VAS plates

    © Ю

    Posted 1 year ago #
  38. Naysberg
    Joseph

    Is it correct to say that NYPD Traffic will almost never ticket a vehicle with VAS plates for any parking (and probably moving too) violation? (Call it a "courtesy" if you wish.)

    Posted 1 year ago #
  39. 2scents
    Mint and Raspberry

    Health,

    Why would you get pulled over if you do not have L&S and are not passing through any red lights?

    I know that anyone can listen to scanners, however that does not mean that a member using L&S is not legit. most people do not have scanners and they complain because they do not know what went on behind the scene.
    Also some members respond to a private calls in which they contact the dispatcher by phone.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  40. miritchka
    probationary member

    avhaben: Its sad that there are members of frum organizations that think they can get away with many driving/parking laws just because they have the plates or the permit (i'm referring to when they are not on a call or off duty). There is no answer anyone can give for them. As a wife of a hatzoloh member, I feel even stronger about the abuse of the placards than others may feel. Its wrong 100%. My question is how can you put down one group of people when they are the minority of people who go through red lights, park at hydrants, speed, etc... Go down a couple of blocks in, BP for example. Dont tell me that all those cars double parked are hatzoloh members...Just because a cop decides that he personally wont ticket a VAS plate,doesnt mean that the VAS holder is wrong and the average driver with reg license plates is not.

    The Litvishe Kiryat Yoelite: It happened a couple of times that i was in the car when my husband responded to a call and about a minute after he was dispatched, they cancelled the call. Now tell me, if you saw that i know that anyone would think he was "abusing his powers" by using his l and s and going through the lights. I know i would. Thats why i buried my red face in my lap for a few blocks. Please dont judge!

    Health: I usually respect and look forwrd to your comments. And i still do, which is why this comment made me do a double take after i read it: "you get is response from some Hatzolah members that e/o who is a member is a perfect little angel." While you may not be directly bashing Hatzoloh, this wasnt a very nice comment to write, especially after the many times that other posters (whom i am assuming are members of hatzoloh) post time and again that unfortunately not everyone is 100% honest with the temporary priviledges given to them.

    Another question to those that are upset that some cops wont ticket hatzoloh members: Does it really bother you that your fellow Jew, your brother, wasnt ticketed? The fact that he was wrong is between him and Hashem. I always hated it when teachers had pets in school but there's nothing you can do except to do your best and to do the right thing.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  41. miritchka: The problem is not that a member who abuses his privileges is not ticketed. I am very happy he isn't ticketed and yiddishe gelt doesn't go to the government. But the problem with abuse is that the abuser is hurting all other drivers and parkers on the road.

    Furthermore, and even much worse, when other drivers see driving abuse (i.e. using sirens to pass through heavy traffic or pass other drivers or go through a red light [suddenly turning on their siren to pass and then immediately turning it off after they passed]) too many times, in the future they may not pull over when they hear sirens during a real emergency since they may assume it is just another member abusing his privileges.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  42. 2scents
    Mint and Raspberry

    Naysberg,

    No that is not correct, they will ticket cars that have VAS plates as well.

    In fact Members get tickets all the time when on call.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  43. Naysberg
    Joseph

    How do the members get the tickets dismissed?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  44. Health
    Member

    2scents -"Why would you get pulled over if you do not have L&S and are not passing through any red lights?"

    You wouldn't have these questions if you read the whole post.
    Here it is again:
    "What it boils down to is the cop's perception. I've been pulled over many times by cops during a response. Of course since I was legit - I didn't get a ticket. In parts of NJ where they aren't used to having people respond in personal vehicles, I've gotten pulled over. This was probably true once upon a time in NY."
    They don't think e/o with a blue light is legit. They pull you over to check.

    "I know that anyone can listen to scanners, however that does not mean that a member using L&S is not legit. most people do not have scanners and they complain because they do not know what went on behind the scene.
    Also some members respond to a private calls in which they contact the dispatcher by phone."

    You take Dan L'caf Zecus to new level. There are actually very few private calls and most of these they notify dispatch via radio. What I'm saying is if anyone wants to document abuse, which I personally don't care about, all they need is a scanner.
    You can figure out how they work if you listen long enough. And then you can figure out who is abusing their L & S.
    I wasn't talking about anybody who has actually complained. I don't know anyone who has, but I'll take your word for it that people have. So I wouldn't know if their complaint was valid or not.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  45. 2scents
    Mint and Raspberry

    They explain to the judge that they were on call.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  46. 2scents
    Mint and Raspberry

    Is there anything else left for us to argue about?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  47. Health
    Member

    miritchka -"Health: I usually respect and look forwrd to your comments. And i still do, which is why this comment made me do a double take after i read it: "you get is response from some Hatzolah members that e/o who is a member is a perfect little angel." While you may not be directly bashing Hatzoloh, this wasnt a very nice comment to write, especially after the many times that other posters (whom i am assuming are members of hatzoloh) post time and again that unfortunately not everyone is 100% honest with the temporary priviledges given to them."

    While you are correct that some people own up to the truth, my attitude comes from those that are in total denial and bash you for saying the truth.

    Here is an example of s/o owning up to the truth, even though he did it as a defense instead of just a plain admission:
    "cb1
    Music Producer -
    People, how about a little Dan L'kaf Zchus here!! Most Hatzolah members do NOT abuse their privileges!!"

    He said most.

    OTOH, here is an example of the other way. From the topic of "Joining Hatzalah":

    "Poster -Hatzola is there for anyone that needs it R''L. They put their personal schedule to the back burner for any call. No one should have the chutzpa to speak bad about them no matter what."

    Posted 1 year ago #
  48. 2scents
    Mint and Raspberry

    Health, I do not think that this using L&S for nothing is something that happens often.
    Maybe in NJ where L&S is prohibited the members break the law and use. however in NY most members use the L&S responsible.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  49. coffeeaddict
    Member

    Very timely thread as I just came home from work and found a note on my husbands car that said "hatzalah members are not above the law..." because the car parked by a no standing sign. Well believe it or not, that sign was put up either today or yesterday - after my husband parked his car there! Next time maybe try to be dan lekaf zechus!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  50. miritchka
    probationary member

    Health: Thank you for clarifying.

    The Litvishe Kiryat Yoelite: Your last post makes it seem that this happens so often by hatzolah members that its affecting traffic everywhere. As mentioned before, it does happen that a member would abuse their temporary priviledges, but it's not as common as you make it seem. And it definitely doesnt happen so often that drivers wont stop/pull over when they see flashing lights. Please stop putting down a whole group of people because of a few members actions. And to respond to your earlier post on this thread: I can almost guarantee that if you ask any yid out there, and even some non-Jews, what they think of hatzoloh, the first thing out of their mouths will be along the lines of: what they do is amazing and selfless. So please try to focus on the good and suck it up when you see something that annoys you. Just as you would hve to do if any driver starts driving up the shoulder on a highway with bumper to bumper traffic.

    Posted 1 year ago #

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