When we hear the phrase distracted driving, our minds immediately think of young, irresponsible drivers putting the lives of other drivers on the road at risk. Something that might not come to mind as quickly is the danger distracted driving poses for first responders. Whether en route to provide help or stopped on the side of the road, distracted drivers all too frequently miss seeing emergency responders, injuring them by being distracted on their cell phones and/or by emergency scenes on highways.
According to a survey released by the National Security Council (NSC) and the Emergency Responder Safety Institute (ERSI), 16 emergency responders have been struck and killed so far this year by distracted drivers. The survey also revealed a few other crucial key findings from U.S. motorists when it comes to the dangers of distracted driving and emergency responders, including:
- 89% of drivers say they believe distracted drivers are a risk for first responders
- 71% of drivers take photos and text while driving by emergency responders on the side of the road (this drops to 24% under normal driving conditions)
- 60% take time to post to social media and 66% email about the situation
- 80% admit to “rubbernecking” to get a better look
- 49% say that possibly being struck by a vehicle is “just part of the risk” of being a first responder
Texas Bans Texting and Driving
The issue of texting and driving persists, despite becoming illegal September 1, 2017. It can be horrifying enough to see drivers deliberately ignoring the law and texting on their cell phones while driving, but to take a photo of an accident or emergency crew in action while driving is another story. While other bills, such as the hands-free bill, have been proposed to ban any and all cell phone use while driving, many question whether or not that will end the distracted driving plague.
Texas Move Over Laws
In addition to being distracted at the sight of an emergency vehicle or crew working to help, drivers are also completely disregarding Texas move over laws. The Move Over Law dictates when and how a vehicle must accommodate for emergency vehicles, such as EMS, police, or fire trucks. Drivers approaching any of these emergency vehicles with their lights on are required to slow down and if possible change lanes to give the emergency vehicle space to proceed. Unfortunately, many Texas drivers are either unaware or unconcerned about this law, making the risks of harming first responders even greater.
Emergency Vehicle Accident Help
Emergency responders face dangers and risks on a daily basis while simply doing their jobs. Worrying about distracted drivers should not be on the long list of potential threats these brave men and women face. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury while working on the job as an emergency responder, we want to help. Contact the workplace injury attorneys at Liggett Law Group today for a free case evaluation.