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NSC: drivers are more distracted around emergency vehicles

Many drivers in Connecticut and across the U.S. become distracted whenever they pass an emergency vehicle on the street. In a survey conducted by the National Safety Council and the Emergency Responder Safety Institute, 60 percent said they post on social media whenever they see such a vehicle. Just over 65 percent said they send an email about it. Seventy-one percent take photos or videos, and 80 percent slow down to get a better look.

This negligence can put first responders at risk for a collision. Already, in the first four months of 2019, 16 first responders have been hit and killed by cars. In 2013, there were 37 deaths and over 17,000 injury cases related to crashes with fire trucks, police cars and ambulances. In the survey, 16 percent admitted to hitting or nearly hitting either a first responder or the emergency vehicle when driving by it.

While 89 percent of respondents agreed that distracted drivers pose an occupational hazard to first responders, only 19 percent believed that their own inattentive driving might have put first responders at risk. As for "move over" laws, 67 percent had heard of them. Seventy-three percent said they move over for emergency vehicles on the side of the road, which is the correct action to take.

When emergency responders are involved in trucking accidents, they can be left with catastrophic injuries and even permanent disabilities. If the other party did not follow the "move over" law and was distracted, legal action may be warranted. This is where a lawyer may come in to evaluate a case and assist with the filing of a personal injury claim. Third-party investigators may gather evidence from the crash site to help strengthen the case.

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