Crashes With Fire Trucks, Ambulances, & Police Cars: When Accidents Are Caused by Emergency Vehicles

This week, we covered the story of a Fullerton motor vehicle accident which involved a collision between a passenger vehicle and an ambulance at the intersection of Brea Boulevard and Bastanchury Road. The ambulance, which was transporting a patient at the time of the accident, did not have on its siren or lights when the crash occurred.

Sadly, serious accidents involving emergency vehicles like ambulances, fire trucks, and police cruisers are somewhat common in California and across the country. Emergency drivers who rush to the scene of an accident or to a hospital can lose control, crash, or zoom through intersections — all while legally setting aside the rules of the road. At the same time, other vehicles on the road may not know how to properly respond when an emergency vehicle uses its lights and siren.

The following are statistics from the United States Department of Transportation regarding fatal traffic accidents and emergency vehicles in 2009:

  • Ambulance. Ambulance crashes resulted in 35 deaths in 2009, including ambulance drivers, ambulance passengers, and the occupants of other vehicles. Eighteen fatalities resulted from ambulances in emergency use.
  • Fire Truck. Fire truck crashes resulted in 17 fatalities across the country, including nine fatalities related to a fire truck responding to an emergency. While it is rare for a fire truck driver or occupant to die in a fatal crash, the occupants of other drivers often suffer serious or fatal injuries in these collisions.
  • Police vehicle. In 2009, 90 people were killed in traffic accidents involving a police cruiser—one third of these fatalities occurred when a police car was responding to an emergency situation. Both the driver of the police car and the occupants of other vehicles are in danger of injury or death when involved in these crashes.

If you have been injured in a California traffic accident involving an emergency vehicle such as an ambulance, fire truck, or police cruiser, it is imperative that you understand how the accident occurred and who was at fault. Simply because a vehicle was responding to an accident or rushing to the hospital does not mean negligence was not a factor. Speak with an Orange County personal injury attorney today to learn more about your case. Call Russell & Lazarus at (949) 851-0222.

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