That’s the idea that a NY Times article explored regarding the number of car accidents with police vehicles and ambulances due to drivers checking on-board computers rather than paying attention to the road.  They need the technology to save lives and prevent wrongful deaths, but how can they look at a computer and drive at the same time?

Emergency vehicles have on-board computers, but are they helping or causing car accidents with distracted drivers? (Source: NY Times)

Our San Diego auto accident attorneys want to make sure that the emergency teams who respond to personal injuries don’t end up causing them in route to the accident or when they return to the hospital for medical treatment.  These are human beings, who can make mistakes out on the road just like any one, but what good is an ambulance to those injured in a car accident if the EMTs are injured in route due to distracted driving?

With 75% of police cruisers having computer equipment in the drivers seat and 30% of ambulances equipped in the same way, auto accidents are bound to happen.  It is a double-edged sword:  these emergency responders need to look up information — such as various types of medicines or license plates of reckless drivers — in order to do their job.

Everyone agrees, however, that there must be a balance so that accidents are prevented with these vehicles.  New York City’s largest ambulance system is controlled via the New York Fire Department and has mandated that on-board computers not be used by drivers in traffic — the partner in the ambulance is authorized to use it then.  Unfortunately, if the passenger EMT is in the back with a patient, then only the driver can use it.  Distracted driver alert!

Our auto accident attorneys mainly want clearly defined laws about when, where, and how drivers of police vehicles and ambulances are able to use their on-board computers.  At least then, we’ll know what’s legal and not.  We must find the right balance of usage, right?

If you or a loved one have been involved in an automobile accident, we urge you to contact our bilingual offices as soon as possible following the accident at 1-858-551-2090 or please click here for a FREE consultation with an experienced San Diego auto accident attorney.  We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you owe us nothing until we recover money on your behalf.


Do you believe the risks outweigh the benefits (or vice-versa) for the possibility of driver distractions caused by on-board computer usage in emergency response vehicles?