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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Emergency Vehicle Technology Leads to Vehicle Accidents and More

First responders must have the technology available to get to where they need to go. GPS, dashboard computers, radios, cell phones, and other electronic devices are used by paramedics and police while they weave in and out of traffic in every city and state. These devices shave seconds off that may save the people they help by providing valuable information. However, in a report by the New York Times, the risk of using this equipment may increase the chance for serious auto accidents with deadly consequences.

Accidents involving police or paramedics as a result of looking down at a dashboard compute or a GPS system have been documented. Whether it's hitting another vehicle or a pedestrian, all parties involved may find this risk too much, while others may find the risks necessary.

Over 75 percent of police cruisers have on-board computers. Around 30 percent of ambulances use computers. These percentages are only going to grow. On-board computers allow police to check out the license plates of suspicious vehicles, and ambulances are directed to accidents and given patient information. Yet, in an age when distracted drivers are periodically in the news for causing accidents, it may be worth it to examine distracted first responders, even if they are doing their jobs.

Many states have passed texting while driving bans, but exempt first responders. This is a good thing on the surface. But if those ambulance drivers and police officers are using their cell phones or computers for personal use, then they are liable if they cause an auto accident.

Asking the public to trust that our emergency workers are using their on-board computers and cell phones for job related activities shouldn't be an issue. Unfortunately, there are some that abuse their exemption to cause some to doubt.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, please contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Cochran Firm for an initial consultation. We serve clients nationwide.


posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 8:46 AM

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