An ambulance serves a vital role in our healthcare system. Since they are usually dispatched in emergency situations, it is crucial that they reach their destination. However, sometimes ambulance drivers operate somewhat recklessly in order to make it to their call, which can lead to even more death and destruction as they speed through intersections and ignore traffic signs or other vehicles.
Several years ago, a report was published in which researchers analyzed national ambulance crash data provided by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), and what they found was frightening. During a 20-year period, from 1990 through 2009, there were 84,810 ambulance accidents resulting in more than 55,000 injuries and just shy of 29,000 fatalities. In 2009 alone, more than 3,000 ambulance accidents occurred throughout the United States.
Common Factors Contributing to Ambulance Accidents
Just as enlightening is another study that took place several years later, detailing the most common factors contributing to ambulance accidents, which mirror those in most other vehicle accidents, including:
- Distracted driving, including talking on a cell phone or even texting
- Failure to obey traffic signs or signals
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driver fatigue, usually based on long shifts without rest
- Poor vehicle maintenance
Researchers didn’t stop there, however. They also discovered a potentially shocking lack of care on the part of the employers of ambulance drivers, including:
- A tendency to employ volunteer ambulance drivers with no experience
- Inadequate screening of vehicle operators
- A relatively poor knowledge of basic driving laws
Negligence Most Common Factor in Ambulance Accidents
Driver and employer negligence is by far the most common factor in ambulance accidents. Ambulance drivers should know everything possible about their vehicles, including that they are somewhat top-heavy, making them vulnerable to rollovers or tipping. And yet, they often receive little or no training specific to driving an ambulance.
Though ambulances are equipped with sirens and flashing lights in order to let other vehicles know they are approaching an intersection, the ambulance driver still has the ultimate responsibility to exercise caution as they drive through traffic because they are not the only vulnerable potential victims should the ambulance crash. The fact that an ambulance driver and the company that owns the vehicle are performing an invaluable service does not excuse either one of them for negligence. If they are a responsible party to an accident, they should be held accountable for their actions.
Texas Ambulance Accident Injury Lawyers
Of course, hospital and other medical costs that a victim may incur will depend on the seriousness of the accident and their injuries, but they are not likely to be minor. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident involving an ambulance, the days and weeks or even months that you spend out of work, with the bills piling up, can be devastating to a family. The Houston motor vehicle accident attorneys at Richard J Plezia and Associates understand that the victims of ambulance accidents deserve to be made whole to the extent possible, which means getting the maximum amount of compensation they are due for their injuries and damages. Please contact us immediately so that we can begin our investigation and find out what needs to be done in order to get you the compensation you deserve and to protect your rights under the law.