Everyone knows the threat that distracted drivers present to other drivers and passengers on the road. Distracted driving (particularly related to cell phone use) is estimated to contribute to collisions as much as, if not more than, drunk driving. However, most people do not know that distracted driving disproportionately affects the safety of the people who help when car accidents occur. When someone chooses to look at their phone instead of the road in front of them, they also put first responders at risk. CBS reported on the deadly toll this negligent act is taking on police officers, emergency medical technicians, and others whose job it is to respond to similar accidents.
Emergency responders’ proximity to the road while on duty can be a risk factor, but driver fascination with roadside accidents was revealed to be a major contributor to these deadly incidents. A study by the National Safety Council stated that 71% of surveyed drivers confessed not only to texting while driving, but also to taking photos of first responders when they see them on the side of the road. Shockingly, 60% of people said that, while driving, they posted the photos they took on their social media accounts, and about 66% said they would email people while driving to describe the emergency situation they witnessed on the road. In comparison, only 24% said they text and take pictures while driving when there are not emergency responders on the road.
The number of fatal pedestrian accidents, in which the victim was a first responder, increased by 60% from 2017 to 2018, totaling 40 people killed while working on the side of the road as a first responder. The count for 2019 totals 21 deaths so far. Of those drivers surveyed by the National Safety Council, 16% said “they’ve struck or nearly struck an emergency vehicle or first responder on the side of the road.”
Although the specific threat to first responders is new information to many, the overall risks of distracted driving are notorious. Staying focused on the road is the best way to protect yourself and everyone around you.Contact the Law Offices of Dan Davis if you were injured in a car accident. Call (405) 531-9983 or contact us online to schedule a free initial case evaluation.