When a serious accident or injury occurs, the first call from a victim or witness is to emergency personnel. Paramedics, police officers, and firefighters rush to the scenes of accidents or injuries with sirens and lights on. Lawfully, these vehicles do not have to abide by standard traffic practices. However, they do have to drive with a manner of responsibility. While emergency vehicles are in route to help individuals in need, civilians must do their best to make a clear path by pulling to the shoulder of the road (if there is no shoulder drivers shall yield to the emergency vehicle while pulling as far to the right-hand side as possible).
Although drivers of emergency vehicles have the right to take liberties with traffic laws, they still have a duty to avoid driving in an unreasonable matter. Almost all of emergency vehicle drivers have been trained on how to safely maintain vehicles at a high rate of speed while responding to an accident or injury. Nonetheless, emergency vehicles can be held accountable for accidents they may have caused while responding to a call. Here are some examples of negligence on behalf of emergency vehicles:
Misuse or lack of sirens and lights to notify drivers of unusual traffic patterns due to them maneuvering through intersections or other vehicles.
Speeding through intersections without caution
Taking turns at a high rate of speed
Trying to maneuver through spaces that are too narrow while speeding.
Crashes involving emergency vehicles happen more often than expected. Typically, these vehicles are on the roads in route to help, not to cause more damage. Here are the statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Fire Truck Accidents
Second-leading cause of death on the job for firefighters
2000-2009 fire trucks and vehicles were involved in 31,600 collisions.
70% of those accidents happened while responding to an emergency.
Average of 2600 people are injured in ambulance accidents on an annual basis
33% of people die in ambulance accidents every year
35% of ambulance accidents result in death or injury
Police Cruiser Accidents
If you are involved in a collision with an emergency service vehicle (ambulance, fire truck, or police cruiser), you deserve to receive fair compensation. Contact an attorney if you are involved in an accident due to the negligence of an emergency vehicle.