Statistics on Emergency Vehicle Accidents in the United States

Accidents involving emergency vehicles such as fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars are a substantial problem in the United States. Vehicle fatality rates for emergency responders are estimated to be up to 4.8 times higher than the national average. Most emergency vehicle accidents occur at intersections or near driveways. They are also more likely to occur in poorly lit areas. Because emergency vehicles are typically traveling at higher speeds in urgent situations, the accidents often result in severe injury or death to occupants of the emergency vehicle or the passenger vehicle involved.

Below are some statistics regarding emergency vehicle accidents illustrating how large the problem is in the U.S.

Ambulance Accidents in the U.S.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a report in April of 2014 that provides an overview of the number of ambulance accidents in the United States. The agency studied the number of ambulance accidents over a 20 year period from 1992-2011.

Below are some of the key findings from the report:

  • Over the 20 year period, there were an estimated 4,500 accidents involving ambulances each year.
  • 35% of accidents resulted in injury or fatality to at least 1 occupant of a vehicle involved.
  • An average of 29 fatal ambulance accidents produced 33 fatalities each year.
  • On average, 2,600 people are injured in 1,500 ambulance accidents each year.
  • Of those killed in an ambulance accident, 63% were occupants of a passenger vehicle, 21% were passengers in the ambulance, 4% were the ambulance driver, and 12% were non-occupants.
  • Nearly 60% of ambulance accidents occur during the course of emergency use.

Firetruck Accidents in the U.S.

According to data from the NHTSA and the United States Fire Administration (USFA), firetruck accidents are the second leading cause of on-the-job deaths for firefighters.

Below are some key findings from an analysis of NHTSA data on firetruck accidents from 2000-2009:

  • Over that 10 year period, there were roughly 31,600 accidents involving fire vehicles.
  • 49 of those accidents resulted in at least one fatality to an occupant of the firetruck.
  • About 70% of all firetruck accidents occurred while in emergency use.
  • Rollovers account for 66% of all fatal firetruck accidents.

As seen in the statistics, firetruck accidents can be very serious, often resulting in serious injuries or even fatalities. Since firetrucks, like emergency ambulances, are frequently responding to emergency situations, most of the accidents occurred in such settings.

Police Car Accidents in the U.S.

Using data from 1994-2002, researchers from the University of Washington performed an analysis of the number of fatalities each year that occur during police pursuits.

Below are some of their key findings:

  • Each year there are approximately 300 fatalities in the U.S. that occur during police pursuits.
  • Just over 30% of the fatalities occurred to people who were not involved in the pursuit.

Arnold & Itkin Represents Victims of Emergency Vehicle Accidents

Emergency responders perform an honorable and important job, but they still have a duty to respond to emergencies as safely as possible. Accidents involving emergency vehicles occur far too often in our country and many, if not most, of them are avoidable. At Arnold & Itkin, we take pride in representing victims of emergency vehicle accidents and fighting for the justice they deserve. In fact, our firm once won a record-setting $117 million verdict for a woman who suffered life-changing injuries in an ambulance accident. We truly care about helping individuals recover financially, physically, and emotionally following a serious accident.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident with an ambulance, firetruck, police car, or other emergency vehicle, contact us today for a free consultation.


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