According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are 2,500 annual fire truck accidents in the United States today. Many Georgia residents are under the false impression that a fire truck crash is uncommon; however, the accident rate linked to fire trucks is far greater than many Americans would imagine.
It is difficult to miss the presence of a fire truck heading to an emergency as the sound of loud sirens and honking horns paired with flashing lights make them very noticeable. Nevertheless, about 1,100 injuries directly related to a fire truck crash occur each year throughout the country.
The majority of Georgia drivers are very familiar with fire truck travel. Typically on the roads during an emergency situation, these trucks are often speeding through intersections and down busy streets in order to get to the fire. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the emergency and lack of time, fire trucks are often at risk of serious traffic crashes involving other vehicles who neglect to recognize the presence of a fire truck approaching.
Common Causes of a Fire Truck Crash
When a fire ignites, firefighters jump into their fire trucks and proceed to race down the road in order to get to the fire as quickly as possible. A firefighter has a serious responsibility to get to the scene of the fire as soon they can in order to save the lives of those trapped. As such, it is often necessary for fire trucks to speed through intersections, even when the light is red. Combining speeding with crossing intersections and the result can be disastrous in situations when other motorists are not paying attention to the road.
Drivers are given the responsibility to adjust their driving habits in the presence of a speeding fire truck with flashing lights. Fire trucks commonly have to speed, weave in and out of traffic, and cross intersections in order to get to the fire in the fastest manner possible. When those motorists on the road are slow in reacting to the fire truck, the likelihood of a traffic accident increases significantly.
The following are the most common causes of a fire truck crash:
- Speeding: fire trucks heading to put out a fire are always in a rush. In their pursuit to arrive at the fire quickly, drivers are not quick to get out of the truck’s way are likely to be struck by the oncoming truck.
- Fails to Follow Road Rules: the firefighter responsible for operating the fire truck is under a ton of pressure to arrive quickly at the destination. As such, they typically must speed through stops signs and red lights, as well as ignoring a number of other rules of the road.
- Right of Way: fire trucks with flashing lights and sirens glaring must always get the right of way in traffic. This means that all other motorists are expected to get out of the way of an oncoming fire truck, neglecting to do so often result in a collision.
- Equipment: while far less common than the other fire truck crash causes, equipment failure such as improperly secured ladders or hoses have led to a number of accidents.
Research from the United States Fire Administration indicates that motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death in firefighters. Evidently, the dangers associated with the common driving habits of a fire truck cause a growing number of traffic collisions each year.