California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

731. Definition of "Emergency" (Veh. Code, § 21055)

Download PDF
731.Definition of “Emergency” (Veh. Code, § 21055)
An “emergency” exists if the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle
is [insert one of the following]
[responding to an emergency call.]
[involved in rescue operations.]
[in the immediate pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the
law.]
[responding to, but not returning from, a fire alarm.]
[operating a fire department vehicle while traveling from one place
to another place because of an emergency call.]
New September 2003
Directions for Use
This instruction is based on the language of Vehicle Code section 21055(a) and is
only intended for cases in which there is a factual issue regarding whether the
defendant was acting in response to an emergency at the time of the accident.
(Washington v. City and County of San Francisco (1954) 123 Cal.App.2d 235, 241
[266 P.2d 828].)
Sources and Authority
• Authorized Emergency Vehicle Exemption. Vehicle Code section 21055(a).
“Whether a vehicle is driven in response to an emergency call depends on the
nature of the call received and the situation as presented to the mind of the
driver and not upon whether there is an emergency in fact. The driver, of
course, should have reasonable grounds to believe that there is an emergency.”
(Gallup v. Sparks-Mundo Engineering Co. (1954) 43 Cal.2d 1, 5 [271 P.2d 34],
internal citations omitted.)
Secondary Sources
5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, §§ 297, 331–335
2 Government Tort Liability Practice (Cont.Ed.Bar 4th ed.) §§ 11.140–11.144
732–799. Reserved for Future Use
535
0037