Investigators Fear EMS Driver Fatigue is Causing Deadly Auto Accidents


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Your next ambulance ride could be your last road trip, but not necessarily for the reason you would expect. As it turns out, fatigue among emergency medical service providers is rampant, and is a major cause of auto accidents involving ambulances. Although it's not exactly a secret that EMS workers are exhausted, it's generally swept under the rug. Studies have been conducted for more than a decade now that highlight the problem, but no universal legislation has been passed to curb the problem. Good Morning America decided to take a deeper look at the problem, and what they found is truly disturbing. Nearly Half of All EMS Drivers are Fatigued There are a number of reasons why EMS workers are exhausted. Many of them work long shifts, are forced into working overtime or opt into it, are overworked during shifts, have little recovery-time between shifts, and also work for multiple agencies. One study discovered that 45% of EMS workers are severely fatigued as a result. Interestingly, about half of them sleep less than six hours each night as well. For comparison, only about 30% of the general population gets so little nightly rest. There is No General Policy or Legislation to Prevent Exhausted EMS Workers from Driving Ambulance collisions have a lot in common with trucking accidents. Truckers are prone to fatigue as well, and wrecks are often devastating, if not deadly. In either case, the tired worker is set behind the wheel at an employer's urging, and expected to handle a massive vehicle with no margin for error. However, there is legislation to prevent truckers from driving tired. Federal laws determine how many hours a trucker can work, how long one can stay on the road, how much time he must be allowed between shifts, and so on. EMS workers aren't regulated the same way. An employee can literally be permitted behind the wheel even if he hasn't slept in more than 24 hours. Driving Exhausted is Like Driving Drunk Tired medical care workers make more errors than well-rested errors, but those behind the wheel may pose an even greater risk. Numerous studies have shown that the cognitive impairment that comes with sleep deprivation is on par with that caused by alcohol. Reaction times slow, vision becomes blurry, and even the ability to foresee potential hazards decreases. Considering that ambulances often drive at high rates of speed to arrive at a scene and have to navigate quickly around other vehicles, pedestrians, and obstacles, it's an incredibly dangerous situation. This puts EMS workers at a greater risk for auto accidents, and Charleston residents are put in danger. Based on present data, every-other ambulance you pass on the road might as well be a drunk driver.

Charleston Auto Accident Attorney

It's frightening to have to go up against an ambulance company. Although some of them will settle, while not accepting fault, others may try to shift the blame, saying the victim should have moved off to the side of the road more, or that the victim is at fault because he impeded emergency responders. In reality, the fault of many ambulance collisions rests squarely on the shoulders of the fatigued EMS worker, and often the company he represents as well. If you've been hurt in a collision involving an emergency vehicle, you're entitled to answers and possibly compensation for your injuries if you were not at fault. For a no-obligation consultation, please complete our online form, or you may speak to one of our attorneys now by calling 1(800)610-2546.

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Clore Law Group welcomes your questions about any issues concerning a serious personal injury, car accident, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, or business tort. If you have a viable claim, we’ll explain the legal process. Since consultations are always free, there’s no cost in learning your legal options.