This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here on distracted driving. Now comes news of 1st Responders being just as distracted as everyone else.
March 11, New York, New York
They are the most wired vehicles on the road, with dashboard computers, sophisticated radios, navigation systems and cellphones.Once again, it looks like Pandora’s Box has been opened and there just isn’t any way to put the lid back on it… alas we can always hope.
While such gadgets are widely seen as distractions to be avoided behind the wheel, there are hundreds of thousands of drivers — police officers and paramedics — who are required to use them, sometimes at high speeds, while weaving through traffic, sirens blaring.
The drivers say the technology is a huge boon for their jobs, saving valuable seconds and providing instant access to essential information. But it also presents a clear risk — even the potential to take a life while they are trying to save one.
In April 2008, an emergency medical technician in West Nyack, N.Y., looked at his GPS screen, swerved and hit a parked flatbed truck. The crash sheared off the side of the ambulance and left his partner, who was in the passenger seat, paralyzed.
In June 2007, a sheriff’s deputy in St. Clair County, Ill., was driving 35 miles per hour when a dispatcher radioed with an assignment. He entered the address into the mapping system and then looked up, too late to avoid hitting a sedan stopped in traffic. Its driver was seriously injured.
“My partner was checking baseball scores as he was driving a patient to the hospital.
I looked through the passageway and said, ‘You’ve got to stop that right now,’ ” recalls Greg Friese, a paramedic in central Wisconsin, who was treating a patient in the back. Mr. Friese also develops online training programs for medics, E.M.T.’s, police officers and firefighters.
“We’re dealing with the carnage, which ranges from the trivial to the tragic, of distracted driving,” he said. “We should know better.”