Individuals might automatically assume that the drivers of emergency vehicles can avoid accidents as if by second nature. These are professional drivers, after all, who are highly trained to quickly reach crisis situations and – in the case of ambulance drivers – return to a medical facility when a patient’s life might hang in the balance. Unfortunately, the drivers of firetrucks, ambulances and police vehicles are not immune to causing collisions.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collected data over a 20 year span (from 1992 to 2011) that focused specifically on traffic crashes involving an ambulance. Some of the key findings include:
- On average, there were 1,500 ambulance accidents each year over the span. These accidents accounted for an average of 2,600 injured persons per year.
- In injury accidents, 54% of those injured were occupants of the other vehicle, 29% were ambulance passengers and 17% were ambulance drivers.
- On average, there were 29 fatal ambulance accidents resulting in 33 fatalities each year.
- Of the fatalities, 63% were occupants of a passenger vehicle and 25% were in the ambulance (21% were passengers in the ambulance and 4% were ambulance drivers). The remaining 12% were categorized as non-occupants such as pedestrians and cyclists.
With lights blazing and sirens blaring, drivers of other vehicles on the road are taught to recognize and clear the path for emergency vehicles. Unfortunately, in their haste, drivers of emergency vehicles might fail to recognize stopped traffic, misjudge a turn or fail to clear an intersection before racing through.
If you were injured in an accident caused by an emergency vehicle, you might face a strict statue of limitations. It is important to seek the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney who can provide the guidance and representation you need.