As drivers, most of us our extremely careful around ambulances. When those lights go on, we know that we’re supposed to pull over, safely out of the way, so the ambulance can handle emergencies. We also assume that ambulance drivers are well-trained to not take unnecessary risks. After all, ambulances are supposed to help with accidents and injuries, not cause them.
However, ambulances can get into serious accidents like any other types of vehicles. With the high speeds at which ambulances often travel to respond to time-sensitive emergencies, the frequency of ambulance accidents makes sense.
The NHTSA study
In 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a study on auto accidents involving ambulances. The study is called “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Ground Ambulance Crashes,” and it contains some interesting statistics, including:
- The quantity of ambulance crashes: In the 20-year period covered by the study (1992-2011), there was an average of 4,500 crashes per year involving ambulances. Although some accidents are to be expected, this is an alarming statistic.
- Fatalities in ambulance accidents: Over the studied time period, there was an average of 29 fatalities in accidents involving ambulances.
- Who is getting killed: The least frequent person getting killed in ambulance accidents are the ambulance drivers, at only 6%. On the other hand, the other drivers make up the significant majority (63%). Even the ambulance passengers make up a far more significant percentage (21%) than ambulance drivers.
These are alarming statistics that we should all take seriously when driving.
What can we learn from these statistics?
The most important takeaway from seeing statistics like this is to be extremely careful driving near emergency vehicles, especially when their lights are on and they are handling an emergency. Ambulances are not immune from accidents and their high speeds can result in serious, even fatal, injuries when they are involved in accidents.