Not only do thousands of people die each year in distracted driving accidents, a new survey shows most U.S. drivers take photos or videos upon seeing emergency responders at an accident or routine stop.
“Save your communications for off the road; disconnect and just drive,” said Nick Smith, interim president and CEO of the National Safety Council.
Survey results reveal shocking distracted driving bad habits
The National Safety Council released a survey about driver distraction around emergency vehicles.
In the survey, 71 percent of U.S. drivers said they take photos or videos when they see an emergency vehicle on the road responding to a crash or fire or just making a routine traffic stop.
The survey about driver distraction around emergency vehicles from the Illinois-based, nonprofit National Safety Council also found that upon coming across emergency responders on the road:
- 60 percent of drivers post to social media while behind the wheel
- 66 percent send an email while behind the wheel
- 16 percent said they have either struck or nearly struck a first responder or emergency vehicle stopped on or near the road
- 89 percent said they believe distracted motorists are a major source of risk to first responders
The survey on driver distraction around emergency vehicles consisted of 2,001 questionnaires completed between Jan. 22 and Feb. 2, 2019 by U.S. residents 21 or older who have unrestricted driver’s licenses.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency provided funding for the survey to the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association of West Virginia.
Emergency responders like police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians are vulnerable because they exit their vehicles and respond to accidents, fires and other incidents on roadways amid fast-moving traffic.
In 2013, crashes involving ambulances, fire trucks or police cruisers killed 37 people. Another, 17,028 people were injured in cases of driver distraction around emergency vehicles. Since January 2019, the number of emergency responders struck and killed by vehicles is 16.
More startling statistics about distracted driving
In the National Safety Council survey about driver distraction around emergency vehicles, 49 percent of respondents said possibly being struck by a vehicle is “just part of the risk” of being a first responder.
Here are other findings from the survey about driver distraction around emergency vehicles:
- 19 percent of drivers said their own inattentiveness has probably put first responders at unnecessary risk.
- Despite being willing to engage in risky behaviors like posting photos and emails on social media while driving around emergency vehicles, 62 percent of drivers said they are above-average drivers in such situations.
- 24 percent of drivers said they were unaware that legal requirements exist that govern what drivers must do when they see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road.
- 97 percent of drivers said they will see an emergency vehicle if it has flashing lights, but 74 percent would like emergency responders to wear reflective clothing.
- 80 percent of drivers said they slow down to get a better look when they see an emergency response vehicle tending to a crash, fire or traffic stop, despite such slowing down backs up traffic and creates other safety hazards.
- 67 percent of drivers said they have heard of “Move Over” laws and 73 percent said they do move over when they see an emergency vehicle on the road with its lights on.
Were you or a loved on injured in a car accident involving a distracted driver and an emergency vehicle? Contact the Vishno Law Firm in Connecticut today for incidents involving driver distraction around emergency vehicles and other personal injury cases.