Ambulance, Fire Truck, Police…Oh My! Emergency Vehicle Accident Risks
Emergency vehicles, such as ambulances, fire trucks, and even police cars are on the road to carry some of the greatest heroes of our society. When you’re seriously injured, your life depends on these vehicles getting to you as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, that dependency is one of the main causes of emergency vehicle collisions.
Usually, emergency vehicles are manned by highly trained professionals. However, even the best training in the world can’t prepare for all aspects of an emergency. Imagine if a person’s life depended on your running a red light, or that a killer may get away if you brake at a crosswalk.
Emergency personnel have a lot of pressure put on them to get where they need to be as quickly as possible. A minute delay could cost someone his life. However, how they control that demand to meet urgency expectations can also lead to lives being lost in traffic collisions.
Some of the most common causes of emergency vehicle collisions and injuries are often caused by emergency personnel. For example, pressure, adrenaline, confusion, and the chaos that derives from emergency situations can easily cause a driver to lose control and cause an accident.
- Pressure. When a crew is rushing to put out a fire or help victims of violent crimes, they rarely have a second to spare. That means that emergency vehicle drivers have to speed to and from many of their destinations. Although traffic laws require non-emergency vehicles to clear the way, when a driver is traveling at high speeds with the added stress of someone’s life depending on him, reaction time decreases while the risk of an accident increases.
- Adrenaline. The increased adrenaline that these drivers feel when going to an emergency can have a powerful effect on their actions. Although most emergency vehicles are driven by professionals who are at the top of their game, some aren’t able to focus through the adrenaline as readily as they should. Furthermore, when adrenaline wears off, the driver may become dangerously fatigued and lose focus. This lack of focus and control can lead to negligent behavior and actions which can cause or contribute to an accident.
- Confusion and chaos. When emergency vehicles are displaying their lights and sounding their sirens, it is assumed that an emergency has taken place and that they have the right of way. This applies at intersections, on one- and two-lane roads, on the highway, etc. However, just because they have the right of way doesn’t mean that other drivers can or will always move to clear a path. As a result, the emergency driver barrels through with the assumption that his way will be clear (remember, his focus is on the emergency), while the road ahead remains congested. The result: a dangerous collision scenario.
In addition, emergency vehicles are generally large and strongly built in order to protect passengers. However, this means that when a collision occurs, the other car (and the people within it) will most likely bear the brunt of the destruction.
Every year, thousands of emergency vehicle accidents occur across the United States. The latest data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2010 provides the following emergency collision estimates:
- Fire trucks caused nearly 15,000 accidents in 2010.
- Police cars are 3.4 times more likely to cause an accident than fire trucks and ambulances.
- Ambulances caused 699 injuries in 2010.
- 74 percent of EMS fatalities were transportation-related.
No matter the cause or excuse, if you or a loved one has been injured in a car wreck involving an emergency vehicle, you may have a justifiable claim to recover compensation. Don’t allow someone else’s emergency to put your future in danger. Call us today at 800-232-3711 for a free consultation. These cases can be very difficult, but there is no reason to believe your claim will be impossible to win. Remember, it’s our job to fight for you. Call now.