Driver Education Key to Preventing First Responder Auto Accidents

Auto accidents involving first responders, including firefighters and other emergency workers, killed at least 50 such workers in 2022.  The Governors Highway Safety Association and other groups are ramping up efforts to educate drivers about the need to take care when they see emergency responders at an auto accident site.

Most states have move – over laws in place to protect emergency workers at car accident sites, and Georgia is no different.  In  Georgia, the law requires motorists to move over one lane when they see emergency vehicles with flashing lights ahead.  If  moving over one lane is not possible, then motorists are required to at least slow down.  They  must also be prepared to stop when they reach the auto accident site.  What is not acceptable is for a motorist to travel at his normal speed without slowing down or changing lanes,  thereby placing emergency first responders at risk of personal injuries.

Under Georgia law, emergency first responders include  firefighters, police officers, EMS workers,  Department of Transportation workers and others who might be attending to an emergency on the road.  These  emergency first responders place their lives and safety at risk when they rush to the scene of an auto accident and offer life -saving help and care to passengers.

Unfortunately,  failure to slow down while approaching an auto accident scene resulted in more than 50 first responder deaths in car accidents in 2021. Emergency responder groups believe that the numbers could be even higher because there is not a lot of very specific data that is collected about these types of auto accidents.  That  could soon change.  The  federal administration is currently studying the data involving these car accidents following requests by lawmakers.

Many  safety experts believe that lack of awareness or understanding about the need to slow down is at the heart of these auto accidents involving emergency first responders.  Some new initiatives might help. For example, the  Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act has made provisions for education campaigns that target motorists and educate them about the need to   slow down or change lanes when they come up on an emergency vehicle with flashing lights.   Another possible option is technology that alerts drivers that they are coming up on an auto accident site. These alerts can be delivered through in-car technology. Some  automakers have already begun to introduce such technology in some models.

Emergency first responders like firefighters and EMS workers  do yeoman service for the public good.  The least they deserve is safety while performing their important duties.

The Atlanta car crash attorneys at Katz Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to the representation of persons injured in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia.  If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident, talk to a lawyer at our firm and determine if you have legal options to a claim for damages.   You may be eligible for compensation that includes medical expenses, lost income and other types of damages.  Talk to an attorney at our firm and discuss your case.

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