The National Safety Council and Emergency Responder Safety Institute have released
new information on distracted drivers and emergency scenes.
Each year, thousands die in distracted driving crashes. First responders not only respond to these incidents, but they’re
vulnerable to the dangers of distracted drivers while they’re on the roadways helping others.
Since January of this year, 16 emergency responders have been struck and killed by vehicles. This might shock
the general public, but responders know these dangers all too well. According to a recent survey by the National Safety Council,
49% of emergency responders stated that the possibility of being struck by a vehicle is “just part of the risk” of their role.
April is Distracted Driving Month and the National Safety Council and Emergency Responder Safety Institute have released
new findings to raise awareness about distracted driving and the dangers for first responders.
Despite 89% of drivers in the survey stating that they believe distracted drivers are major
sources of risk to first responders, results showed that drivers are more likely to be distracted
around emergency vehicles:
- 71% of U.S. drivers take photos or videos when they see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road responding to a fire, crash or making a routine traffic stop.
- 60% post to social media and 66% send an email about the situation, all while behind the wheel.
- 16% said they either have struck or nearly struck a first responder or emergency vehicle stopped on or near the road.
- Without the presence of emergency vehicles, drivers participate in distracted behaviors less frequently, but still at alarming rates. While driving, 24% of participates said they take photos or video, 29% admitted to using social media and 24% said they send email.
“The cruel irony is, we are putting the people who are trying to improve safety in very unsafe situations,” said Nick Smith,
interim president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Our emergency responders deserve the highest levels of protection
as they grapple with situations that are not only tactically difficult but also emotionally taxing. Save your communications for off
the road; disconnect and just drive.”
We thank the National Safety Council and Emergency Responder Safety Institute for shining a light on this important topic and
we encourage everyone to spread the word about these initiatives. To see the full survey or access more information,
visit nsc.org, and to learn more about Distracted Driving Awareness Month, visit nsc.org/ddmonth.
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