Another cautionary tale this week in the EMS news is a story about an ambulance involved motor vehicle accident where the driver received a ticket for running a red light, even though they were running lights and sirens. The ambulance struck a pickup truck crossing the intersection with the green light and caused it to overturn.

Proceed With Caution and Due Regard in Ambulances

Paramedic in Ambulance Talking on RadioPeople, let’s stop running our units into other vehicles, okay?! We need to approach all intersections with due regard to traffic laws. That means stop at stop signs and lights and make sure the intersection is clear and all traffic is stopped before proceeding. Pass other vehicles only when it’s safe to do so and protect yourself, your partner and your patient when on a transport.

The more I see articles like this one, the more I think we need to take the lights off the units. They don’t significantly improve transport time and most of the time, we use them simply because we can. When you look at the aftermath of this accident and others like it you see the costs to the system. Two additional ambulances were needed to take patients from the scene of the accident, including the patient from the original ambulance.

Add to this system cost, where units were no longer available for other calls and an ambulance was put out of service because of damage, and you begin to see the cascade events like this cause. According to the laws for car insurance in Florida, this will almost assuredly incur a lawsuit for damages against the EMS driver and service involved along with increased insurance costs to the company and driver after the accident is reported. It’s too much!

Take some time people. Slow down and proceed with caution. Your job is to get your patient to the hospital alive. Nothing in that statement says fast. A minute or two one way or the other won’t matter. The life you save may be your own.


Follow-up on the link for this and other news items as well as all of the additional resource links in the show notes for this episode – Detergent Pod Poisoning (Revisited) and Episode 361.



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One Response to Motor Vehicle Accident Results in a Ticket for Ambulance Driver

  1. Skip Kirkwood says:

    Careful with the “take the lights off” routine. Would you have us with no safety illumination at the scene? Let’s not shotgun a whole industry because some numb-nuts didn’t drive with due regard for the safety of himself and others.

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