You often see them pulled over or navigating their way through traffic with lights flashing. Emergency responders are often the first to arrive at a catastrophe. Yet in the process, they are often put in harm’s way themselves, according to a recent study.
Emergency responders are often vulnerable to being struck by inattentive or reckless drivers while attending to roadside accidents or other emergencies. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that 37 people were killed and 17,028 injured in crashes involving ambulances, fire trucks, and police vehicles in 2013.
Under Pennsylvania’s “Steer Clear,” drivers are required to move over or slow down when approaching a traffic stop, emergency scene, or disabled vehicle on the side of the road. In addition, drivers are prohibited from using handheld devices behind the wheel. Yet far too many of them do so anyway. And when they do, they put emergency responders at risk.
Shocking statistics on distracted driving around emergency vehicles
A survey conducted by NSC and the Emergency Responder Safety Institute revealed that roughly 71 percent of drivers across the United States take photos or videos when passing an emergency vehicle responding to a crash or fire, or even making a traffic stop.
About 60 percent of drivers who take photos or videos post them on social media. Sixty-six percent send emails regarding the incident – all while driving.
Dangerous driving habits like this have unfortunately become more frequents as more drivers use handheld devices behind the wheel. Also according to the survey:
- 24 percent of respondents admitted they take photos or videos while driving
- 29 percent said they use social media
- 24 percent said they send email
- 16 percent admitted they have either struck or come close to striking first responders or emergency vehicles
- 49 percent claim that the risk of being struck by a vehicle is just part of being a first responder
- 80 percent admitted to slowing down to observe emergency situations
Shockingly, 24 percent are unaware that drivers must slow down or move over when approaching an emergency vehicle on the side of the road.
You’ve been injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver. Now what?
Distracted driving around emergency vehicles not only puts responders at risk, but also endangers other road users. If you’re an emergency responder, roadside worker, or other road user who was struck by a distracted driver, it’s important to know the legal options available to you.
You can contact us online to schedule a consultation at no cost to you. Don’t wait.