Even Ambulances Have Accidents

Imagine a child in your care feeling so ill that you call an ambulance for help. Once inside the emergency vehicle and en route to the hospital, you’re safe, right? Wrong.
Even ambulances can be involved in traffic accidents, which can delay critical treatments. A local minor and his guardian learned this lesson the hard way one recent December afternoon when the ambulance they were riding in was hit head-on while traveling from Harlan to a Lexington hospital. On Alumni Drive, a minivan that had pulled over in the opposite lane to let the ambulance through was hit from behind by another minivan. This second minivan went into the oncoming lane and crashed into the ambulance head-on. The child, his guardian, a paramedic in the ambulance, the driver of the ambulance, and the driver of the van that hit the ambulance were then transported by fire engine to the emergency room of UK Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. The ambulance ended up off the road against a wooden fence with such heavy damage to its front end that it had to be towed by a wrecker.

Car Driver Inattention

Equipped with blaring sirens, brightly colored lights, and reflective decals, it seems hard to believe that ambulances are sometimes not seen by other motorists. KRS 189.930 states that:

(1) Upon the approach of an emergency vehicle equipped with, and operating, one or more flashing, rotating, or oscillating red or blue lights, visible under normal conditions from a distance of five hundred (500) feet to the front of such vehicle; or the driver is given audible signal by siren, exhaust whistle, or bell, the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the edge or curb of the highway clear of any intersection, and stop and remain in such position until the emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer or firefighter.

(2) Upon the approach of any emergency vehicle, operated in conformity with the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, the operator of every vehicle shall immediately stop clear of any intersection and shall keep such position until the emergency vehicle has passed, unless directed otherwise by a police officer or firefighter.

Common sense suggests that even if the sirens and lights are not on, the size of the average ambulance should help it get noticed in traffic and cause drivers to exercise more caution. Similarly, operating the ambulance with due regard for the safety of all people using the roads is required of the ambulance driver by law. If you have any questions about this topic, contact us by calling 606-437-4488 or filling out our online form for a free consultation. Whether you were riding in an ambulance, working on an ambulance, or involved in a wreck with one, we are here to discuss your unique situation.

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