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Survey: distracted driving rampant around emergency vehicles

In 2013, there were 37 deaths involving fire trucks, police cars or ambulances around the country. In the first four months of 2019, 16 first responders were struck and killed by cars. Now, a survey from the National Safety Council and the Emergency Responder Safety Institute has confirmed an unfortunate trend: most drivers become distracted around emergency vehicles, endangering first responders. Atlanta motorists will want to know more.

What most drivers do when they see an emergency vehicle is slow down to get a better look (80 percent admitted to it). Next, they take pictures or videos (71 percent). Sixty-six percent send an email about it, and 60 percent post on social media about it. This was regardless of whether the emergency vehicle was making a routine traffic stop or responding to a crash or fire.

Eighty-nine percent recognized that distracted driving endangers first responders, who must exit their vehicle to help others. Yet only 19 percent admitted that their own inattentive driving may have endangered them. Sixty-two percent believed they are "above average" drivers when passing emergency vehicles. Sixteen percent said, though, that they once collided or nearly collided with a first responder or parked emergency vehicle. Even under normal driving conditions, distractions are rampant. Twenty-four percent said they take photos or videos under these conditions. Twenty-nine percent said the same about posting on social media.

There are "Move Over" laws designed to protect first responders doing their job at the side of the road. If drivers become distracted and injure a first responder, they will likely face a personal injury claim from the victim. Negotiating with the auto insurance company for a settlement can be difficult without a lawyer, so victims may want to schedule a case evaluation with legal counsel.

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