Fire trucks race to emergencies and fires to save lives, but unfortunately these vehicles can also be a risk on the roads. Each year, about 2,000 fire truck accidents occur nationwide, leading to about 1000 injuries, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Although fire trucks tend to drive fewer miles than passenger cars, their heavy weight and high speeds can put them at risk of collisions. Many factors can lead to fire truck collisions in Hollywood and other Florida cities:
•Speeding. Fire trucks are legally allowed to speed and drive through red lights when they are driving to an emergency with their lights and sirens on. However, the high speeds and weaving around traffic can be dangerous and can lead to car accidents in Hollywood and other cities.
•Other traffic. All traffic is expected to yield right of way to any emergency vehicle driving with lights and sirens on, but some pedestrians, motorists, and others do not get out of the way of a truck, leading to accidents. In fact, according to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), the most common cause of fire truck crashes is motorists’ failure to yield.
•Equipment problems. In some cases, mechanical failure – including brake failure or tire blowouts – can lead to a fire truck collisions.
•Driver fatigue. Drivers are sometimes called out to emergencies in the middle of the night, and may be fatigued enough that they make mistakes leading to an accident.
•Obstructions on the road or poor road conditions. In some cases, fire trucks need to drive through rough roads, unpaved roads, or through construction areas in order to get to an emergency. These more dangerous conditions can be a contributing factor to any traffic accident.
•Weather. Weather can cause a range of traffic collisions in Hollywood and other Florida cities. For a fire truck, slick roads or heavy rains can be an added problem since fire trucks are already so heavy and can tip over or crash when racing through bad weather to get to an accident or fire.
•Driver inexperience. Fire truck drivers need added experience driving, since their on-road experiences are so different than other motorists. Fire truck drivers need to be able to speed safely and get to an emergency in a very short amount of time – without crashing. Fire trucks also have a considerable weight and many types of lifesaving equipment that fire truck drivers need to be familiar with.
According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), car accidents are the second most common cause of fatalities for firefighters. One of the best things that drivers can do to help prevent car collisions in Hollywood involving fire trucks is to pull over immediately when they hear a siren and see a fire truck.
The Flaxman Law Group is part of the Hollywood community and has been a strong advocate for Florida road safety. If you are injured in a fire truck collision or a traffic accident anywhere in South Florida, you can always contact the Flaxman Law Group for a free, no obligation case review.