Dallas, TX (News)-With more and more cases and studies proving the hazards of distracted driving, we often forget that the most wired vehicles on the roadways are first responders, who use their equipment while driving and rushing to emergency calls at high speeds, leading Dallas, Texas automobile accident lawyer, Amy K. Witherite reports. Hundreds of first responders like police officers, paramedics and firefighters are actually putting others at risk due to the distraction caused by their life-saving equipment while weaving through traffic, often at high speeds, as reported by the New York Times.
The “life-saving” equipment like dashboard computers, high-tech radios, navigation systems and cell phones, may actually put other motorists in danger. For example, a New York paramedic stated that he recently looked down at his dashboard computer while rushing to the hospital and at the last second looked up, slammed on his brakes, barely missing a pedestrian who was in the street. Also in April 2008, a West Nyack, N.Y. emergency medical technician hit a parked flatbed truck, paralyzing his partner, all because he looked at his GPS screen.
According to the NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), from 1991 to 2000 there were a total of 300 fatal crashes involving ambulances. From these 300 crashes, 82 ambulance occupants died, and 275 occupants of other vehicles and pedestrians were killed as a result. With the development of new and improved technology, ambulances and police vehicles are becoming more wired, which poses an even greater threat to other motorists and pedestrians. An analyst with the VDC Research Group stated that about 75 percent of police vehicles have on-board computers, which has doubled over the last 10 years. In addition, 30 percent of ambulances have been estimated to have on-board computers. Although the technology brings hazards, it does a lot of good too; the computers allow police to check license plate data and receive information about a suspect from dispatchers. Ambulances get directions to accident scenes and receive information about a patient prior to arriving at the scene. The Health and Safety Institute, which provides continuing education for emergency service workers, stated that first responders usually don’t get adequate enough training to deal with the diversions. The lack of training could result in preventable accidents and injuries involving emergency and police vehicles. Officials are now working on other solutions to using the equipment, such as voice activation systems, but struggling states may not be able to incorporate the expensive technology.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed because of another driver’s carelessness you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. Contacting a Dallas automobile accident lawyer who is experienced in litigating accident claims may help you recover damages you deserve.